Leaving Our Football Nets

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And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him. When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets. And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him. (Mark 1:16-20)

Leaving Our Football Nets

Mark’s gospel is a story of immediateness. Written for the Roman mind who loved power, the story of Jesus moves from one story to the next with the players in each story acting immediately. Mark was trying to impress upon his readers the power of Jesus Christ and the impact the disciples had with Jesus. The calling of Peter, Andrew, James and John illustrates the power of Mark’s message. It also shows the heart of four men who do not delay to serve the Lord. These men would give their lives to serve the Lord as fishers of men. They left their nets immediately and followed Jesus. There was no hesitancy in their devotion to Christ and little doubt. Where they were going was unknown and what the next few years would bring was not revealed. Regardless, these four men immediately left their nets and never turned back.

What kind of heart does it take to walk away from what you have known for a lifetime? James and John left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed Jesus. Peter, Andrew, James and John were four men who understood the importance of servitude. They were not religious leaders of their day but they lead by example of what true devotion to the will of God should be. Worship for them was not a matter of convenience. It did not become something in their life that would be important only as long as nothing interfered with their plans. The focus of their lives became Jesus Christ. Twelve men who stood on Pentecost proclaiming the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ died by the persecuting hand of men save one – John. Religion to these four men was an immediate response with no reservations.

The church has always been filled with half-hearted disciples who often try to serve the Lord with an almost-have-to disposition of dedication. As long as everything is going their way, worship is important. If something more important to the individual comes along then God can be put on the back burner. It is amazing the excuses people give for not coming to worship services. There is a clear indication of spiritual laziness that permeates the heart. It is not uncommon for folk to miss the Sunday night service to stay home and watch the Super Bowl. The rational can be what difference does one worship service make if I stay home to watch an exercise in carnal pleasure? Company comes in and that takes coming to church services off the table. One of the common victims of this spiritual apathy is the number of people who feel confident attending one service on Sunday morning is all that is necessary to please God; excusing themselves from being part of the Sunday night worship. It is amazing the mindset that people develop to excuse their clear lack of commitment to Jesus Christ who left Heaven and came to earth to die for the same people who continually treat Him with contempt. If Jesus had the mind of man, He would have never come to earth.

Satan has convinced the children of God that worship is important but please do not get too serious about the whole matter. The way that people treat the church today would have kept Peter, Andrew, James and John in the fishing boat. They would have told Jesus, “We will follow you but first let me watch this football game or feed my family that dropped in or I have shopping to do and will get to you when I have time.” Religion in the body of Christ has become a matter of convenience to the useless whims of carnality. Thankfully, Jesus suffered miserably on the cross so that I can sit back, take my ease and serve God when I feel like it. How sad that so many people crucify again the Son of God by their lack of love, respect and honor for what He did. Four men left their boats to follow Jesus. These four men never gave up on Jesus, lived for Him each day, served a lifetime of dedication to Him and died working hard to let others know about Him. And all around the church today we have saints sitting in boats watching football games, eating, drinking and making merry unaware their boats are sinking.

We are a generation of cheap Christians going to heaven as inexpensively as possible; religious hobos and spiritual deadbeats living on milk instead of meat, crusts of bread instead of manna, as though we were on a cut-rate excursion. (Vance Havner; 1901-1988)

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