As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. they were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
Going from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him. Matthew 4:18-25
Wow. This passage is epic. How could anyone read this and think following Jesus is boring or mundane? Check it out. Peter, Andrew, James, and John. Four ordinary fishermen just out doing an ordinary day’s work.
Just like me.
Like myself, there’s nothing too special about these guys. They’re about as average as they come. They’re not famous, rich, or powerful. They are just some ordinary, hard-working fisherman trying to make their way through life. Then Jesus comes along and totally changes everything. Jesus could have chosen anyone, but he hand-picked these ordinary men to bring the kingdom.
Jesus says, “Follow me.”
What he doesn’t say is, “Let me join you in your ordinary life. May I please play a small role?”
No. Jesus calls these men OUT of their ordinary life and into and extraordinary life with HIM.
The Bible says that immediately, without hesitation, at once, these men dropped what they were doing and said yes to Jesus’ invitation. The new life they just walked into was nothing like the life they just walked out of. It was far from common and colorless.
The first thing Jesus does with his new followers is perform miracles upon miracles! It says he healed every disease and sickness. From leprosy to the common cold, Jesus walks in and takes it all away. He sees the paralyzed, and tells them to walk. He casts out demons like it’s nobody’s business. Could you imagine?! Do you understand how EPIC this new adventure for these men is already?!
They’ve heard about this guy named Jesus who claims to be the Son of God. They don’t know a whole lot about him. But they’re willing to take a risk, accept his invitation, and find out what he’s all about. He doesn’t take them to the temple and have them memorize bible verses. He doesn’t tell them they need to clean up their lives before they can follow him. The first thing he decides to do is blow their minds with his power to heal the sick and mend the broken. He says, “Hey, this is what I’m about. I’m bringing heaven to earth. and I want YOU to join me!” (I totally pictured an Uncle Sam version of Jesus pointing at me as I typed that).
I don’t think those disciples knew what sort of adventure they were in for. But I highly doubt they ever regretted their decision to follow Jesus’ calling.
Jesus invites the ordinary, undeserving men into an adventure. An adventure they didn’t earn by climbing to the top of the corporate ladder, or graduating from seminary, or knowing the right people (not that any of these are bad things). He invites his friends into an adventure they didn’t necessarily earn or deserve.
“Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It’s not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what it is He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, “Let’s go do that together.” Bob Goff, Love Does
Other than the fact that we both like fishing, my life is much like those ordinary men.
When Jesus said, “Follow me,” and offered us this gift of an extraordinary life with him, we have the opportunity to respond in three different ways to this invitation:
1. “No, thank you. I will follow my own plan; graduate college, get married, have 2.5 kids, live in a big house and drive a nice car.”
2. “Jesus, it sounds nice following you and all. But I have a lot to lose. So I’ll pass. But you’re totally welcome into my life. I think I have a little space for you on Sunday mornings. Maybe at weddings and funerals too.”
Guess which one has led to adventure in my life? I’ll give you a hint: I dropped out of college and moved to a foreign country.
Jesus called me out of my common, ordinary life and into an adventure with him. And boy has it been an adventure! The places I’ve gone, the people I’ve met, the things I’ve seen; they don’t happen to people in the world I grew up in, they don’t happen with life outside of Jesus.
“Turning down this invitation comes in lots of flavors. It looks like numbing yourself or distracting yourself or seeing something really beautiful as just normal. It can also look like refusing to forgive or not being grateful or getting wrapped around the axle with fear or envy. I think every day God sends us an invitation to live and sometimes we forget to show up or get head-fakes into thinking we haven’t really been invited. But you see, we have been invited – every day, all over again.”
I’ve experienced adventure through creation; sunrises, mountain tops, rainbows, and beautiful islands you only see in travel brochures.
I’ve experienced adventure through people; stories of restoration, hope, healing, and laughter.
I’ve experienced adventure through simply going places, doing things, and loving people. Sometimes that looked like dressing up in weird outfits and hanging out with teenagers, or just hanging out. Literally.
Most days it looks like taking the wrong bus and getting lost. Or having great conversation over a cup of coffee. Or laughing until I can’t breathe.
I’ve done nothing to earn this adventure except to be the person God has created me, to live in his will, and to say yes when he says, “Follow me.”
I guess my point is this: choosing to follow Jesus every day has been nothing less than an adventure for me. It’s more adventure than the world offers; more than a week’s trip to the mountains or a vacation on a cruise. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a daily decision to accept the invitation. I am beyond blessed by every sunrise, every person I meet, and every new place I come to. I want so bad for you to experience this adventure as well. If you think you’re not good enough or you’re not ready to follow Jesus yet, that is a lie. You never have to, nor will you ever be able to earn the invitation. It’s being offered to you right now. All you need to do is say yes, and recklessly abandon. Not, “Yes, but…” Simply, “Yes.” You won’t regret it.
“I think God sometimes uses the completely inexplicable events in our lives to point us toward Him. We get to decide each time whether we will lean in toward what is unfolding and say yes or back away. The folks who were following Jesus in Galilee got to decide the same thing each day because there was no road map, no program, and no certainty. All they had was this person, an idea, and an invitation to come and see.”
You’re invited into an adventure. Don’t settle for typical.