I’m the kind of guy who gets attached to things. I don’t like change (unless it’s the change of seasons). I grew up in a house in Elma that my parents built in the 1950’s. The youngest of six, I spent every Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthday in that house. Just 8 years after getting married I moved back into that house with my wife and daughter, so we could take care of my dad after my mom died. I lived there another 10 years and watched my daughter go from 7 to 17 in that house. This month we moved out. A house built for 8 is a little big for 3. The move is best for my family… and best for me too. So, the house is up for sale. I don’t like change, but very often that is what Jesus asks us to do.
Have you ever read from chapter 4 of St. Matthew’s Gospel? The first 3 chapters of Matthew tell about the birth of Christ and John the Baptist. It is not until chapter 4, verse 17, that Jesus begins preaching by proclaiming, “”Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In the very next five verses we read:
- As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
Now, looking at this story, the reader has to assume one of two things, either Jesus has an unbelievably powerful and charismatic personality, or they had already met Jesus and Matthew simply does not tell us that part of the story. Well, it’s both.
First, Matthew tells us in this way to remind us how Jesus spoke with such authority and love that people were strongly drawn to Him. Second, their immediate reaction is a symbolic response to the first word Jesus just spoke, “Repent…” Both sets of brothers, Simon and Andrew, as well as James and John, “immediately” left… everything! Their jobs, their stuff and even their father! Repent means things have to change and they sure did for those four men… as well as billions more to follow.
Jesus asks all of us to repent, to change. When He does this He asks us to to leave somethings behind. Now the apostles were called to leave everything behind for their very important mission. However, even if we are asked to leave much less behind, it is still difficult. This is when it is good to remember that “immediately” did not happen for those four apostles until Jesus was ready to ask them to do it.
Remember, they had already met Jesus. They had heard him preach. Their hearts were moved with the magnitude of who this man appeared to be. It was then that Jesus asked them to “follow me.” First he drew them to Himself, then He asked them to follow Him.
For all of us, we need to listen to Jesus – learn from Him – get to know Him.. We listen to Him in the voices of the Church, the Bible and in prayer. We then become moved with the magnitude of who this man is. A God Who loves us and wants to be involved with every aspect of our lives and make them better than we every imagined. If we only follow Him.
The new place is awesome.