“Jesus called out to them, ‘Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people'” (Matthew 4:19).
Remember playing the game “Follow the Leader” when you were a kid? I used to work in an after-school children’s ministry setting. At the end of the day, before the parents had arrived and when there just was not enough time to do another activity, we would play Follow the Leader.
I would be the leader to start, and we would go up and down halls; circle tables and chairs; tumble over couches. It was fun! And it usually always lasted the right amount of time.
Imagine playing a different kind of Follow the Leader.
Imagine a typical day at the office or at school. You are doing what you do every day. You are walking down the same halls, eating lunch at the same spot, and talking to the same people. Some days you enjoy your routine more than others. And then, out of the blue, this guy comes along and tells you to drop everything – everything you know – everything you have done – and follow him.
Seems kinda strange.
And I imagine for Peter and Andrew, the first to be called by Jesus, it was strange. They were fishermen by trade. It was in their blood. They did not know anything else. And here was a complete stranger asking them to step out of their boats one last time and follow him. I don’t know about you, but my first reaction would be, “Tell me more. Where are we going? What are we doing?”
Jesus actually answers: “I will teach you to be fishers of people.”
It seems strange to drop everything in a moment and follow a complete stranger. We can imagine that Jesus’ authority as the Son of God was so clear to the men that day that they did not question the call. We can imagine the days and moments in our lives when we respond to the call to phone a friend, help a neighbor, or write a kind note and not question it.
Scholar Douglas Hare writes: “It may not be necessary for all to leave professions and possessions behind, but all must leave their world behind and enter the new world into which Jesus invites them.” The call to be fishers of people is in our own communities, places of work, classrooms, and churches. But when Jesus calls us to follow him, no matter where we are or where we are going, we are called to step out of our boats.
Our lives will never be the same again.
The call to follow is a call to relationship. It is a call to share that relationship with others. And it is a call to love God and love others.
How are you answering the call to follow?