As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. (Matthew 4:18-22)
In today’s scripture, Jesus calls four of his disciples: Simon and Andrew, James and John. We can be sure that all four of these men had dreams and expectations for their lives. Those expectations probably centered on their families and their fishing business.
But the gospel doesn’t say anything about their expectations, because it centers on what is most important: the fact that Jesus called them, and they trusted him enough to follow him, to let him lead them into the future. But the gospel doesn’t say anything about those expectations or about how their lives developed. All it tells us is that Jesus called them and they followed him.
The gospel does this to emphasize what is essential in our lives. It wants us to realize that God is real and is calling us. It wants us to know that our lives will unfold not as we dream them but as God dreams them. The gospel, then, calls us to trust, to open our hearts and allow Christ to make his dream for us a reality.
We were given faith not just for our benefit but for the benefit of others. There is no such thing as private faith – faith just for me. To the extent that we believe, we believe not only for ourselves but to share that belief with others.
How we share it can vary. Sharing our faith does not mean imposing our faith on others. It does not require that we stand on a soapbox on Public Square or that we stop people in the supermarket and ask them whether they have accepted Jesus as their personal savior. You can share your faith by waiting for the right circumstances.
Here is where it is important to remember that the call and the ability to accomplish the call are both given together. If you have been called to be a parent or a grandparent, you can be sure that God has equipped you to share your faith with your children. Do not imagine that it is the responsibility of someone who works professionally in the church. Your call involves sharing what you believe, and God has equipped you to accomplish it. You can find your own way to tell your children, “This is what I believe”. “This is how I pray.” “I know God loves you.”
Whenever we find ourselves dealing with a friend or someone at work who is in need or struggling grief or loss, whenever we find ourselves called to reconcile with someone who has hurt us, that call is an invitation to share what we believe. We should not be reluctant to include our faith in our approach to others. We can say to the person in need, “I believe that God is with you as you deal with this loss or this problem. I will pray for you, because I know God loves you.” We can say to the person with whom we seek reconciliation, “I come and ask for forgiveness not only because I believe it is right, but because I follow the teaching of Jesus.”
We who have been called to believe are called to share that belief. The call and the ability to accomplish the call come together. There are no secrets, no things that some have and others do not. So, the next time you find yourself with someone and you realize that that person’s life could have more meaning and comfort if they knew of a God who loved them and cared for them. Don’t stand there and wait for God to send someone to proclaim that love. Don’t stand there and wait for someone to share that good news. God has already sent someone. That someone is you.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, you have called me personally by name, just as you called your first disciples, Simon, Andrew, and James. Fill me with the joy of your gospel and help me to be a good and faithful witness of your kingdom to all I meet.”
Jesus speaks the same message to us today: we will “catch people” for the kingdom of God if we allow the light of Jesus Christ to shine through us. God wants others to see the light of Christ in us in the way we live, speak, and witness the joy of the Gospel. Paul the Apostles says, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ Jesus always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15). Do you show others around you the joy of the gospel and do you pray for your neighbors, co-workers, and relatives that they may come to personally know the Lord Jesus Christ and grow in the knowledge of his love?