February 2018 Blog Theme: Living on Mission
You were made to make an eternal impact.
God didn’t save you to simply live a life that was safe, predictable and cautious. He saved you to leave a legacy of faith — passed down from one person to another — that will change generations long after you are gone. I can say from personal experience that there is no greater excitement or thrill than seeing a person come to faith in Christ and begin to walk with Him in a new way. That calling is what Jesus invites every one of us into — the calling to leave a legacy.
It was a crisp morning as the sun climbed up over the mountains surrounding Lake Gennesaret in northern Israel. The fishermen had been working all night, catching schools of fish in their nets as they rose from the depths to feed on the water’s surface. These men were used to working all night with only the moon as their light, but now the dawn had come and the fishing was done. They were cleaning and repairing their equipment, mending nets, untangling cables, and replenishing supplies when suddenly Jesus came walking down the shoreline.
By this point in time, these fishermen knew Him pretty well. They had been following Jesus off and on for over a year. They loved listening to Him preach, and they were amazed at the miracles He performed. One time, while they were with Jesus at a wedding celebration in Cana — just a few miles away from the place they were working — Jesus turned water into wine. The crowds gasped in amazement, and it was then that these men realized that Jesus was no ordinary rabbi. He was someone wholly and completely different than anyone they had ever seen.
On another occasion, they were with Jesus when He went to Jerusalem to the temple for Passover. In a flash of rage, He flipped over the tables where the temple money changers were converting the cash of worshipers into temple currency, another way to squeeze money out of them. Jesus cried out, “My Father’s house is a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves!”
Jesus had authority. He had passion. More than anything, it was clear that He was on a mission, and no one was going to deter Him from that mission. They had seen Jesus go toe to toe with some of Israel’s most powerful religious leaders, and they had watched Him reach out to the outcast and marginalized with compassion and love. People were all the same to Jesus; they all needed to be reconciled to His Father.
“But on this one morning, Jesus walked up to these men and called out, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men’,” (Matthew 4.19 ESV). In effect, He was saying, “Hey guys, if you think catching fish is great, just wait until you experience what it’s like to catch people!”
That day Jesus was inviting these men to a higher mission. He was calling them out. He was challenging them to stop giving their lives to the mundane things in life and instead, live with a greater vision in mind, a greater sense of purpose. That day, He was calling them to go beyond just trying to grind out a living and start truly living the life God had intended them to live all along — a life on mission with Him.
I’m not sure where you are right now in life. Maybe you are just starting out with big dreams of success and fortune, and everyone knowing your name when you are done. Maybe you are just slugging it out day after day, doing your best to keep your head above the water of demands and expectations that keep rising by the minute. Maybe you have accomplished great things, and now you are left wondering if this is all life has to offer. I don’t know where you are in life … but I do know where Jesus is calling you.
Jesus is calling you to live on mission with Him.
The call Jesus extended to the men on the lake that day is the same call He extends to you right now. It’s a call to leave behind your preoccupation with lesser, temporal things and pursue eternal things. It’s a call to put aside a shortsighted vision for your life and lift your eyes to His greater vision. In a very real way, Jesus is calling you to an adventure of living with Him day by day, and being used by Him to leave behind a legacy of faith that will keep growing and transforming people’s lives long after you are gone.
Sound good? Here’s the catch — It will cost you everything!
The men who heard Jesus’ words that morning left everything — their boats, their nets, even their fathers. They left behind what was familiar to them in order to follow Jesus, and they had no idea where it would all lead. In the same way, Jesus’ call is a call to leave behind your vision of success and adopt Jesus’ vision of success, which is living with His mission as your passion.
Think about it. One hundred years from now, no one will care how high you climbed in your company, where you lived or what kind of car you drove. The only thing that will matter is what you did with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the lives you touched. If you give your best to things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of eternity, then you will have wasted the one and only life you’ve been given, and squandered your opportunity to be used by God in a significant and powerful way.
If you surrender your life to Jesus and make His mission in life your mission in life, He will do more through you than you ever dreamed possible. Those simple fishermen made their decision that day and they became world changers. What choice will you make?
Written by Craig Etheredge
This blog is an excerpt that comes from our book Reach Your World, which you can purchase here.