Thursday, March 6

Do We Have It Backwards?

"One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers - Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew - throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them 'Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!' And they left their nets at once and followed him. A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with ther father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind" (Matt. 4:18-22).

It's very interesting to me that Jesus concentrated his efforts on a "few good men," preparing them and entrusting them to reach others. Although he did go to the synagogues to teach, and he did go around "announcing the Good News of the Kingdom of God" and healing people (4:23), his priority was on pouring Himself into his disciples. Even his most well-known message, known as the Sermon on the Mount, was directed toward them (5:1-2) - the crowds simply benefited from being around. Three years later, after Jesus had physically gone off the scene, these disciples were prepared to keep Jesus' ministry going (see Acts 1:1)... and launch a new entity that took the world by storm -- the Church (Acts 2).

Yet today... it seems as though our emphasis is in expending the best of our energy in attracting the crowds and growing our churches... and, as a result, we have neither the time nor the energy to develop quality leaders. But it seems to me that if we put our focus on where Jesus put his... on developing young, up-and-coming leaders... that maybe we'll more often see the "explosive" results that some of us are looking for. That doesn't mean we don't try to have the best environments, systems, and strategies as possible... it simply means that we make developing leaders - especially in the early going of a new church - a priority.

Some people just need to be given a chance. One of the key phrases in the passage above is "... for they fished for a living." Why is that so significant? Because every Jewish boy growing up wanted to be a rabbi... that was the goal of every kid. But if they weren't the top-notch, cream-of-the-crop, way-above-average kids in their rabbinical pursuits, they could hang it up. They'd be labeled as "not cutting the mustard", "couldn't make the cut"... and they'd have to "settle for" making a living in their family's trade. So, Jesus comes along and essentially says to these four young adult men, "It doesn't matter what everybody else says about you... follow me, and your lives will never be the same... I'll give you something worthin living for!" And these same men... who evidently couldn't make the mark years before... went on to "turn the world upside down."

Some people just need to be given a chance.

Who's around you, that may simply need a nudge in the right direction... who - rather than settle for fishing for perch - would jump at the chance to give their existence to fishing for people?

As you walk along in your ministry, in your neighborhood, on your job... who do you see?

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