Greetings! Hope y’all are doing well at the beginning of this new year. Lots of adventure ahead! It’s probably cold, so grab a cup of something warm and find a cozy spot. Now, what do you think of when you think of the word ‘nets’? There could be lots of things – Brooklyn Nets basketball, fishing nets, financial net gains, a trap laid to snare you, a safety net, or any number of things. I’ve been thinking about the verses in Scripture where the disciples ‘leave their nets’ and follow Jesus. I first began really chewing on these verses in December, after spending an evening at a local monastery pondering the Annunciation story with them.
One brother reflected on Mary’s fiat, or yes!, even in the face of the uncertainties. She faced some certain opposition, as friends and family, let alone the general community, were challenged to believe her story. Really? An angel came and told you the Holy Spirit would make you pregnant with the Son of Almighty God? You expect us to believe that? You couldn’t come up with a better story than that one? And blasphemous, to boot!
How often do we miss the chance for abundant life, because we won’t leave our safety net?
Mary didn’t know if she’d be driven from her family and community, or if Joseph would still have her. Being stoned to death was possible. Mary did know God would care for her, no matter what the opposition. In the movie “The Nativity”, I saw where God gave her three months to grow in her faith, being with Elizabeth. The scene where Mary comes home from that visit, obviously pregnant, was powerful. Her parents knew her, knew her character, but still couldn’t believe her. Joseph couldn’t believe her. But God was faithful even in that. Even as Joseph decided to put her away quietly – no accusations, no trial, no stoning – God spoke to Joseph in a dream, explaining the situation to him. Then Joseph, too, believed. He took Mary as his wife, and committed to raise ‘their’ Child as his own. God provided richly and well!
I’ve been looking at some interesting options for several months. They aren’t guaranteed, sensible or ‘normal’. And yet… I can hear Jesus asking me, “Will you leave your nets and come follow Me?” He’s actually offering me an opportunity to chase a life-long dream. But I’m uncertain. I’m in a very secure job at the moment, and I love it there. But still, He calls… with that ‘MacGyver’ look on His face that promises great adventure. If I say yes. There are those around me who will not understand my giving up ‘security’. They will not understand ‘whatever possessed me’ to do something so rash. And yet, He speaks everywhere – Scriptures, friends, books I read, online devotionals, movies. The latest was an old black and white movie called “Holiday”. Johnny chooses to chase his dream instead of settling for security and money.
Go back to the Scriptures and look at Matthew 4:18-22 – “Immediately they left their nets…” They left their source of income and stability. Mark 1:16-20 also uses ‘immediately’. My heart went ‘immediately’ to His calling; my life, well, not so immediately. I had to plan first. I had to consult with advisors – spiritual advisors, financial planners, good friends who would understand the dream; I had to be able to explain rationally to those who wouldn’t understand. Then, I still wasn’t quite sure. Last week, I finally ‘officially’ applied for the position that had been offered months ago. Then, my latest interview was squelched. By the flu. Saying ‘yes’ isn’t always immediately fruitful. It wasn’t for Mary, either. She had nine months of waiting before the birth. Thirty more years of waiting before He began to minister. And three days of waiting while He was in the tomb – where all hope seemed dead, all life seemed extinguished, all certainty seemed lost. Yet, she believed. And we all know how it turned out, with a resurrected Savior for eternity!
So, what ‘nets’ are you clinging to? What adventures are calling to you? Why not say ‘yes’ like Mary did? I’m not advising you to be foolish. Be certain of the calling. Then take that leap of faith and live the dream! Maybe the first adventure you need is to give Him your life. The good, the bad, the indifferent, all of it. Maybe you feel like you need help to talk to Him. Find a pastor or priest. They’re experienced at these things, and will be more than happy to help you start the conversation.
Is there a dream that’s been nagging at you for months or years? Explore the possibilities. Prayerfully discern it. Then go for it!
Leave the nets and follow Him. What an adventure!