Leaving Our Nets

  

    Matthew relates Jesus' calling of Peter, Andrew, James and John.  All were fishermen, and all were engaged in their livelihood when He came upon them.  As He comes upon Peter and Andrew, the passage reads, "And He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fish for people.' Immediately they left their nets and followed Him."  The same took place as He came to the brothers James and John.  Eugene Pederson, in relation to this passage, lifted a prayer to the Father, "The nets have absorbed my attention long enough.  Lead me into Your way of being human."  The question for you and I is, what has had our attention?  In what "nets" of life have we been absorbed?  Jobs?  Relationships? Family? Pleasure? Accumulation of things?  Ministry?  Can we leave these nets that so entangle us and just follow Him?  Yes, there are people involved, loyalties, and much more.  Can we trust Him with them, leave them with Him, and follow, know, be with Him with all that is "us?"
    There is a deeper way of understanding this for the believer, especially the one who is actively serving Him.  Can we notice here that though Jesus does tell them that He will make them fishers of men, He first calls them to Himself?  That, not service, not ministry, is His priority.  Without the first, there is no power or real effectiveness in the second.  I was impacted by something Chris Tiegreen wrote, "Consider a God who would command us to love Him more than our deepest human relationships.  He is the same God who commanded us to love others.  But He knows that our most subtle idolatries are in making the command of God greater than God Himself."  Can we see how slowly but surely, the secondary can take the place of the primary?  How even though we expend great energy outwardly, we have allowed the object or objects that the energy is directed to, the love, take His place in our hearts and lives.  We make much of the "Great Commission," to "go and make disciples," but do we recognize how we can allow working for Him take the place of loving and knowing Him?  As Tiegreen said, we've allowed His command to be greater to us than Him.  Can we dare to be still long enough in His Presence for Him to show just where this may be true?
    What are the "nets" that have somehow entangled us and kept us from really knowing, following, experiencing, and above all, loving Him? There is great fear in leaving them with Him.  Families, jobs, relationships, ministries, all very good things, but all have absorbed us to the point of missing Him.  To let go of them, to trust Him with them, this is what He commands, and we can only do that by His grace.  But whatever He commands, He gives abundant grace in order to obey.  Can we receive it?  There are surely some very precious "nets" in our lives right now.  He knows that, and still He bids us come.  He who will care for us with His deep love, will care for them with the same love.  Be it person, job, ministry or church.  Can we let go of them, allowing them to pass from our hand, our control into His, and be free, entangled no more?  He bids us leave all the nets with Him.  In what place, and in whose hands and heart can they be safer or better cared for?  No longer holding tightly to the nets, we are able to hold onto Him with all of our being.  To what, who, do we hold right now?  

Blessings,
Pastor O 
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  December 2017  
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