When You Need To Surrender To God
At once they left their nets and followed him.
Walking away from your nets when Jesus calls you is never easy! Vast numbers of people hear his voice. They know the voice of the Shepherd and would like to be counted among the fortunate who sit at his feet, but their hands seem to be frozen to their nets. Yes, they will gladly follow provided they can bring their nets with them, but to turn loose is more than they can handle.
Matthew and Mark both describe the day when Jesus Christ walked on the eastern shore of Galilee and encountered them, preparing their nets for another day’s catch. But unlike other casual meetings, an invisible line was drawn in the sand of their lives. The invitation He extended demanded decision. The option was not to follow Him and bring their nets, but either leave them and follow Him or stay behind.
In describing their reaction both Matthew and Mark use a Greek word that means, “immediately”—no hesitation, no considering the odds, no debating the relative merit of cost versus gain. So enamored with his challenge, their hands dropped the nets and followed him.
Says Joe Stowell in his book, Following Christ, “Every time I refuse to drop a net—every time I refuse to give, love, serve, forgive, go, or change a pattern of something I treasure more—I tell Christ where He stands in my life.”
In the Upper Room, Jesus told His disciples that they had not chosen Him; rather He was the one who chose them. Question: To be very honest, do you have trouble turning loose of the net, or more specifically, what it represents—whatever it is that you hold onto which you know you really must release if you follow Him? For whatever reason, your fingers seem frozen as the battle rages between your mind and your emotions, or perhaps your desire to follow Him and your lust for what you know is wrong, which your old nature clings to like fingers that are frozen by subzero temperatures.
Turning loose of your net is a decision, a choice which confronts you, and it isn’t your gene pool, or your biology that makes the decision. It is your heart! The disciples gave up what had been their primary concern in life for something far better. But giving up what you see for what is unseen appears to be foolish or risky to those who are unsure they can fully trust His provision.
It’s an old story but one which well illustrates the tragic consequences which confront those who can’t turn loose of the net when Jesus calls. A little child had his hand stuck in his grandmother’s antique Chinese vase, one that had been in the family for many generations. No matter how they tried to release the little boy’s hand, it was wedged tightly and refused to budge. Olive oil, even soap would not make a difference, and finally a towel was wrapped around the old vase and a sharp blow with a mallet cracked the vase enough to free the child’s hand which—are you ready for this? —tightly clutched a small coin, a milli-fraction of the worth of the old vase.
Turning loose of your net is scary for those who are not sure they can trust Him who calls them, but once you have taken that step, you will never regret saying, “Goodbye” to what it represents. If He who called you could take five loaves and a few fishes and feed a multitude, you need have no concern about keeping the few fish your own nets would take. Never look back, once you have left your net and taken the first step.