Tuesday, March 14, 2017

On the Dropping of Nets

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the men who followed Jesus as his disciples. A few of them were fishermen...used to hard, dirty labor and the ups and downs of a fluctuating income. I imagine they spent their days looking for the next big catch, as their lives and families likely depended on it. And yet, in a miraculous turn of events, they BECAME "the next big catch." They woke up on what they thought would be another ordinary morning, dragging worn nets back to the boat and maybe hoping it would be a profitable day.  

Jesus often throws curveballs into the Gospel accounts and into our lives. One day, fishermen. The next day, fisher OF men. Two little letters and a world of difference. 

They dropped their nets and followed. No fanfare, no "season of transition and discernment," no lengthy goodbyes to the family and friends they were leaving. Jesus said, "Come," and they said, "Okay." They woke up fishermen and ended the day on a new journey as apprentices, students, disciples of this incredible and mysterious man named Jesus. All they did was say, "Okay."

I have to wonder what they were thinking as they walked away. Would they miss the feel of the heavy nets in their blister-worn hands? Would they miss working alongside their father? They dropped their nets, but they also had to let go of their families, their possessions, and maybe even the hopes and dreams sitting on the shelves of their hearts. 

If you have read the Gospels, you know they went on to live quite the adventure alongside this man named Jesus. All because they lived a life of dropping nets. In the future, those "nets" got bigger and bigger, but the practice of letting go of the small things probably prepared them for the bigger things. The dropping of stubborn pride. Of persistent jealousy. Of reliance on self. Of comfort and safety. The stripping away was just part of the journey, and it started the day they let go of their nets. 

I wonder...If Jesus said, "Come," would I drop my nets and follow, no questions asked? I am quick to resort to caution and the careful study of risks vs benefits. I want details and a plan. I am reluctant to release my nets, to leave family and stability and comfort. Even so, I long to be a net-dropper, to grow in trust and allow an "okay!" to fall off my lips a little easier. 

The disciples get a bad reputation for being, frankly, idiots. And sure, they go on to say and do some stupid things. At times, I can only read about their antics and questions and shake my head. Really, guys?!? But as I enter a season of net-dropping, I am challenged by their courage and sense of adventure, by their willingness to listen and obey quickly. I aspire to release my nets with as much ease and trust as they did. 

What nets do you need to let go of today? May we be quick to release the old (...traditions, prejudices, tired thought patterns, way of doing things, ambitions...) so we can quickly and eagerly step out on a new adventure. 

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