And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Mark 1:17-18.
Last week I attended a conference up in Orlando, Florida and was reminded of the ton of great memories I have of driving down from the northeast with my family to go to Disney World. I didn’t get to go to Disney on this trip (I know, bummer!) but I do still love going to Disney because there is just something special, or is it magical, about the place. It is the happiest place on earth right? It is until you get home and pay off your credit card bills! A lot of what I like are the memories, but I also enjoy the creativity of design and especially the way Disney trains their employees to treat their guests. Disney actually works extra hard at making sure that their guests have a memorable time at their resort. That’s why they developed The Disney Institute, which is a piece of their company that is actually dedicated to the professional development and training of their employees, so that our memories of Disney would be good ones, and so that we would come back again and again to spend more money! For instance, Disney trains their employees to actively seek contact with guests. For example, employees are trained to proactively approach people who look lost or confused about the park map to offer any help or assistance. They basically train them to care which helps make the guest experience one where they want to repeat it again.
Jesus had His own training institute for His disciples. Himself. Watch Me, learn from Me, listen to Me love like me, live like Me and share me with others. He wanted His disciples to follow Him and then to replicate that to people so these expert fishermen would become fishers of men. They would go from catching fish to catching men. Simon and Andrew, were probably not the most socially skilled guys, but because of their passion for following Jesus, they would later be accused of turning the world upside down. I love that Jesus wants to use us, ordinary people, to reach people. He could have done it by inserting a thought of how much He loved them right into peoples heads, but He takes ordinary men and women to make a difference for eternity. The key is we are to follow Him and the way we can follow Him is to learn more about Him each day by opening up His word and reading about who He is and then letting that truth apply to our lives. He can transform us into these passionate people who become a great example for others to follow. But, sometimes that example can get lost over time. Peter and Andrew left their nets to follow Jesus, and most of us probably didn’t leave our jobs to follow Jesus, but many of us probably left certain sins behind to accept His forgiveness and salvation. The question of the day is are those sins still detached from your life or has the benefit of grace and time made you feel like you have the permission to allow them back in? You may have left those sins behind at one point, but now that you have been a Christian for a while, you are okay to have them still be a part of your life. You may say, ‘well, things have changed because I am more mature and I am more free in Christ’. Okay, but is your freedom in line with the sacrifice that was paid for your sins? Or has our freedom in Christ become the excuse to take back those nets? I should follow Jesus on His terms not mine. Do you want to be used by God to reach the lost? Do you want to be the example that shows others Jesus? Then go to the Jesus institute of training and apply what you learn to your life without going back to whatever net you left behind.