Reading Mark 1:16-20
“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed Him. When He had gone a little farther, He saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed Him.”
I love all that’s packed into this passage wherein Jesus calls the first disciples. He was calling these men into ministry, and yet within that call, perhaps more completely woven to it and compelling altogether, is the call to follow Him. This is a personal engagement. He called these men specifically, personally.
As Jesus brings us into ministry with people, He calls us fully to His own ministry. This, I believe, isn’t merely as though He’s the “head honcho” and we follow Him about to do His bidding. It is a sustained ministry, meaning He calls us to minister to us. And the fullness and abundance of that “following Him” will bring a fruit: a resulting ministry of “catching” men. Jesus called the disciples to come away with Him (see Mark 6:31.) They spent daily life together. Jesus spent time teaching them and experiencing life with them—ministering the truth and giving of Himself. There was relationship. And as these simple men followed, they came into the fullest ministry—full, meaning, out of the abundance of walking with and knowing Jesus came the overflow of catching others up in the same “net.”
Jesus said He would make them fishers of men. This means process. We are all works in process and without receiving from the personal ministry of the Lord we cannot maintain an outreaching ministry to people. They are indivisible. As we take Jesus’ hand, He, Himself, will personally lead us each into daily opportunities of ministry as well as the more defined “callings” for life as a whole. But I am blessed to know that He makes us fishers of men. We don’t make ourselves that “in the name of Jesus” as though a self-determined duty. He personally calls us just as He called out to the men in those boats. He gives Himself to us fully—He did on the cross! And He will continue that life-giving ministry in our lives, and our lives will be life-giving ministries as a natural result.
The call to ministry is a call to Jesus. Let’s not get caught up in the “ideas” of serving, loving, giving, and reaching out so that those things become the goal of our striving. Let’s strive to simply be with Jesus and follow Him. If we’re constantly with Him we’ll find He’s constantly doing ministry. In us and then in others too.