Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.” Mark 1:16-20
The scriptures don’t usually get into the minds of the new disciples as Jesus calls them to be his followers. What we see are men working their livelihood, day in and day out, casting nets into the sea. They are making a living doing the work they expect to be doing for the rest of their lives. It is likely the same work that their fathers have done (such as Zebedee, in the story above), and their grandfathers before them.
Even today, Jesus has a way of shaking us out of the skin we’ve wrapped around our life, and our future, calling us to be more than we think we can or should be. He has a way of breaking the stereotypes society labels us with. The men in the above verse were common laborers. They were rough around the edges, probably didn’t use the nicest words when they fought with their nets on the water. In contrast, religious leaders of the time were trained in the social niceties. They dressed in fine robes and used perfumes. Everyone had their place in the day’s culture.
Our culture is not always God’s culture, however, as much as we try to blend the two. Throughout Jesus’ ministry and beyond, He turns our expectations inside out. As He calls Simon (later named Peter) from his boat and away from the life he’s always known and expected, so, too Jesus also calls us. When this happens, how do we react? Throughout the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, we see how God uses everyone, big and small, for His purposes. When this happens, there is often pushback. Moses complains that he can’t talk to Pharaoh because of a speech problem. Gideon is told to lead an army to defeat Israel’s enemies and spends an inordinate amount of time asking for proof that the request actually came from God. The point, always, is that the work being done, the miracles and wonders, will not done by them, but by Him. God chooses to accomplish His work, however, through people like you and I.
There is nothing we cannot do, if God is the One doing it through us. There is no word we cannot speak, if we are speaking in the Spirit. There is no level of generosity, kindness or forgiveness we cannot offer if we let Jesus do the offering through us. Does God call us to follow Him because we are perfect? Yes, but not by our standards. The enemy will tell us we are not, that we are unskilled, ineloquent, too short or too poor or too weak to be a disciple of Jesus. But throughout Scripture the Lord tells us we are. In spite of our perceived imperfections, we are perfect for the work God calls for us to do, because in the end, He is the one doing it.
Father, thank you so much for seeing me as perfect for the job you called me to do, even if I do not see it myself. Through your Spirit let me see myself as You see me, one called by Jesus for His work on this Earth.