AT ONCE: Right Now and Not a Second Later

One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. (Mark 1: 16-18 NLT)

I have become enamored with the early followers of Jesus. My goodness me, what faith these men had. I’ve read these verses so very many times, and am seeing anew this response to a very simple request: “Come, follow me.” Seriously? Do you see what these people do? They leave what they are doing at once.

Now imagine today’s environment. Imagine Jesus roaming our streets and then stopping by a local construction site where some men are building a new Taco Bueno (yeah, some of us do like that chain!). And the Savior summons them to come after him, to follow him. Would any of us be so immediate in our response? Wouldn’t we want to check out his credentials? Wouldn’t we find the whole thing a little suspect?

And really, who of us wants to give up everything—our family, our livelihood, our Netflix subscription—to follow Jesus? This is a requirement that many disciples today have a hard time with. It is hard to be immediate. I can think of a myriad reasons why “at once” won’t work. I have deadlines. I have commitments. I have other disciplines for which I’m a disciple! I like to read my USA TODAY. I want to know what’s going on with my favorite sports teams. I need to get caught up on my latest bestseller or superhero movie. But now this Savior, this one to whom I owe my life, asks me to follow him, now! And the model that I see is one of immediacy.

I am grateful—really, I am—for Simon and Andrew’s example. It is a hard call, this business of discipleship, and it really does require discipline and dedicated selflessness. And a response that is “at once” and not “in a while.”

By publisher Don Pape

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