As I have studied the book of Matthew, I have walked alongside the disciples trying to get a glimpse into their hearts.
I have learned that when Jesus asks me to follow Him I will have to leave my nets, leave my boat and possibly leave my family to follow Him. Sometimes I may need to leave them immediately! When Jesus called the disciples, they immediately left their nets and followed Him. It was the “leaving their nets” that allowed them to walk alongside of Jesus daily, learn from Him and learn about Him. Leaving their nets enabled them to develop a strong, deep and personal relationship with Jesus. Doesn’t Jesus want this from each of us? Sometimes those nets which we tend to want to cling to can distract us from Him. These nets at one time may have started out as a really good thing however over time even good things can become a hindrance to our walk with Christ. Is Jesus asking you to leave behind your nets and follow Him more closely?
Earlier this year, I was asked to leave my nets, my boat, and my family and follow Jesus to a new place to call home. Our family moved from Virginia to Texas in order for my husband to take a new job. This always sounds exciting at first, a new adventure and chance to explore as a family a new part of the country. But I really felt comfortable with my nets and I really enjoyed my boat. I felt purpose in my ministries, I enjoyed being with my friends, and I loved being close to my family. I liked living in Virginia and basically I was happy and feeling very content…
But I kept hearing the word immediately spoken again and again to my heart. Really – now? Shouldn’t I finish up my commitments and join my husband in June? Immediately, the Lord kept whispering in my heart. Shouldn’t Matthew finish his school year so he can start in a new school in the fall? Immediately! So that is what we did – and things moved very quickly. Needless to say, I was humbled and stood back in amazement at how the Lord removed obstacle upon obstacle to move us to Texas as tightly fastened doors kept flying open and we just kept walking through the thresholds of opened doors. There was such blessing experienced in following immediately. The ways in which we experienced the Lord working on our behalf early on in the move strengthened our faith in preparation for some days of doubt, which would lie ahead. Trust His perfect plans for you, even when He speaks the word immediately to you.
There were days when I wanted to ask the disciples if they ever looked back, if they missed just being a fisherman or if they missed their friends and families?
Then I hear Jesus’ words from Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
I have learned that sometimes Jesus asks us to leave our nets and follow Him and learn to depend upon Him and only Him. It is in this dependence where the sweet blessing is found. It is in the dependence, when we take His yoke upon us and learn from Jesus that we find true rest for our souls. Isn’t that what we all are truly looking for? True rest which is found in Christ alone!