Drop your nets1
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
- Mark 1:17-18
Simon and Andrew leave their nets in order to follow Jesus. It wasn’t an option for them to drag their nets along with them on their journey with Jesus. The nets would have been a distraction. They wouldn’t have been able to keep up. They left their nets so that they could join Jesus.
The journey of discipleship will, at times, call for us to go and do likewise.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with Simon and Andrew’s nets. Jesus didn’t preach a sermon about the evils of nets and fishing. He didn’t make them feel guilty about owning nets. He didn’t criticize their career.
In fact, after Jesus’ death (but before his disciples have really come to grips with his resurrection) we see Simon and Andrew and their friends doing something fascinating. They return home after three years away. They go out in a boat. And they throw out their nets to fish … going back to their old lives.
What happened in the moments after today’s passage where Simon and Andrew leave their nets? Did Simon’s wife gather them up and take them home? Did Simon and Andrew’s business partner Zebedee (the father of James and John) send some of his employees to collect the nets and hold them for the impetuous fishermen-turned-disciples? Were the nets stolen after sitting unattended?
We each have out nets that we carry in every season of life: possessions that possess us, intense vocational rhythms that crowd out our time to connect with God and God’s people, family commitments that challenge our allegiance to the Lord, hobbies or addictions or attractions that want us to choose them rather than following Jesus.
Jesus’ invitation to follow him requires us time and time again to leave our nets, to leave behind even the good things that will distract us from following him.
Take a few minutes today to reflect on your nets. When have you left something behind in order to follow Jesus? What made that difficult or rewarding? What might you need to let go of today?