We read the history of the apostles and marvel that they could walk away from the life that they knew to follow Jesus. He invited, and they responded. They left nets, boats, family and offices to join “the twelve.” It was a dozen men who had been chosen for the most significant mission possible. Who was this Jesus, and why did they make such a radical decision?
Let’s step back into their sandals for a moment. Imagine being on our jobs involved in our daily routine, and the Lord taps us on the shoulder. We recognize Him. We aren’t newcomers to this one we call the Christ. He tells us that He has chosen us to go with Him. We were going to spend special time with Him, receive instructions and be sent out. It is an eye-to-eye, face-to-face invitation. How would that make us feel? Special? Scared? Awe-struck? The Savior of humanity wants me?
This is the journey of a lifetime. Our minds race. There are billions of people in the world, and there are twelve of us. How can this possibly work? And the demands are high. Leave everything that is comfortable to head off in a totally different direction. You know, comfort zones are…well…comfy, and we all recognize how important that is. Do we dare take such a step into the unknown?
Jesus paints a very realistic picture (Matthew 10). The road is sure to be a bumpy one. We are going to be like sheep among wolves. Hostilities will come from every direction. People from all backgrounds, the powerful and the commoners, religious and civil, family and friends will all be numbered among the aggressors. His recruiting pitch is unconventional, but then the mission is, too. This is no picnic: He is the bread of a very different kind of life. Are we ready for such a move? He looks at our face as He searches our hearts. He knows. Do we? What will our answer be? He is waiting.
Stepping out of their sandals and back into our own shoes, we won’t face such an encounter. Jesus is not going to physically tap us on the shoulder, but He does invite us to a radically different lifestyle. We have been beaten, battered and scarred by sin and the world that He is calling us to leave behind. Maybe we hesitate in totally cutting ties with the fleshly ways. They entice us. He calls us. It won’t be easy to resist our old habits. People discourage us, even mock us. To whom shall we listen?
They were twelve with their flaws and weaknesses. As are we. The Lord used them and will use us as well. His invitation is to follow Him, and He will take care of the rest. He promised to make them fishers of men. He’ll make us what He wants us to be, too.