And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.
~ Mark 2:14
Years ago while living in Texas City, Texas, near the Galveston Bay, I would get up early some mornings and make my way to the Texas City Dike to watch as men with their nets would walk out onto sandbars that were only present at low tide, to try their luck.
So often, I would watch and marvel at the techniques many had developed. The sway of the net, the right turn of the body, and away, the net would be cast, opening for maximum coverage and hitting the water. Then I would watch as a rope would be pulled, tightening the net, and securing the bounty.
As I watched, I often would think about the fishermen that Jesus came upon, and with two words, "Follow me," the men left their fishing nets, empty, along the shoreline, leaving behind not just a way of life, but their families and everything that had been their life for a new journey.
The act of "following me," means that we are willing to surrender our current journey for one that is new. To "follow," means that we relinquish our illusion of being in control. In many ways, following Jesus means that we relinquish our small vision of who God is, for a greater understanding of what God is willing to do to be in relationship with us.
The incarnation, walking among the creation, and the power of that presence, simply saying two words, and the rest is "history." The gospel is given life, and in that life, the lives of even more people are changed.
When we come to the "Follow Me," moments in Jesus' ministry, I am reminded that it did not end with simple fishermen. No, it continued beyond the dusty roads that Jesus shared with the disciples, and even beyond the cross. These words can be found today on street corners, on buses, in hospital waiting rooms, and even while sitting in our car stuck in traffic. Our encounter with these words is as varied as each one of us.
To "follow," doesn't mean to no longer be who we "once were." While it is an invitation to relinquish the life that we once may have lived, that life "lived," is filled with many gifts, experiences and expressions that will then help with the journey. Our wounds, our gifts, and our experiences, will continue to be an important part of the journey. These are the very things that make it possible for each of us to follow, and to invite others to walk with us.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2021
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.