With the sand beneath their feet and the smell of the sea in the breeze, it was a pretty typical, peaceful beach-side morning for these fishermen.
A lone Pelican flew by just a couple feet above the water’s surface catching their eye as they watched it glide effortlessly along the shoreline. That’s when they noticed a stranger in the distance walking their direction. They didn’t give it much thought at first as occasionally people outside the region would visit the seaside for a respite. Now though, as he drew closer, it was clear this stranger intended to talk to them. As he neared they began to wonder what he might inquire of them.
Would he ask how good the fishing was on this particular morning, where he might find breakfast, or a location for evening’s lodging? Did he have family in the region or have business with one of the residents in the village? Maybe he simply needed directions to the next town.
They wouldn’t have to speculate much longer because he was now near enough to speak to them in a normal conversational tone. With a warm, kindly smile radiating from his face and a sincere, friendly look in his eyes, the stranger humbly, but confidently broke the silence and spoke to them saying, “Come follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people.”
What happens next has baffled many a person whenever this story is told. I’m not sure how much time passed with them staring at him and then each other, but something about this person, in this moment, caused a most profound response to a most profound question.
They immediately left everything and followed the stranger! They walked away from their boat, fishing gear, their previous plans and commitments, and followed a man who had spoken only a few words to them in the form of an invitation. If there was any hesitation in them, it had yet to manifest.
Most people confronted with a potential life altering invitation like this would probably have asked a large volume of questions, demanded valid reasons for following, requested substantial credentials, and sought input from trusted family and friends. Most people would have required some form of written agreement toward providing a semblance of personal security for the proposed venture. The characters in this story however simply left their possessions and walked away from what they were doing to shadow a complete stranger, a stranger on the peculiar mission of fishing for people and teaching others to do so as well.
Their decision changed the course of their lives. They not only followed him that day, but continued to follow him everywhere for the next three years. They observed his habits and interactions with people, his compassion and care for those who knew well a life of disappointment and despair.
He not only spoke of a new way to live, but displayed the character of that life before them daily. He presented hope; he presented the best way to live life.
They heard him share incredible insights for the good of all humanity and learned of the valuable keys to unlock the treasures of the heart. They saw him perform extraordinary deeds to help and heal people. They saw the wounded, rejected, displaced, and downcast moved from their physical and emotional challenges to a place of healing, joy, and restoration. They watched him live life in the most purposeful and effective way. The events which occurred as they accompanied this stranger who was committed to the welfare of humanity, resulted in changing human history, replacing darkness with light, hopelessness with hope, and death with life.
One of the effective habits they observed and recognized as key to his success, was his commitment to what was then, and is still, perhaps one of the greater challenges to all who choose to follow him. And that is, prayer!
Though prayer is a most familiar word to Christ’s followers, it often manifests as a more difficult part of following in his footsteps. The need and encouragement for Bible reading and study, attending church services, and engaging in meaningful Christian fellowship, are each physically doable, tangible, and measurable. Prayer is also, but it sometimes can initially appear more mysterious than the other Christian disciplines. All are necessary for a healthy, balanced, and growing relationship with God.
These first disciples saw the need to execute the same type of prayer in their lives as they observed in Jesus, so one day they approached him and requested he teach them to pray in the same manner as he prayed. Jesus responded to them with his “A” plan, the best pattern for successful, effective prayer. His answer which he offered them by praying with them, gave them and every future Christ follower the best and most powerful prayer outline available. He presented as the divine architect of prayer, the perfect themes in sequential order to dialogue with God.
This chronologically thematic pattern is not only the divine design for prayer, but also his best recommendation for the finest pattern for daily living. This is the Christ life; the kingdom life, the best life!
Join in exploring, applying, and experiencing these seven powerful, effective life-giving keys from the templet given by Jesus. Just as he invited those fishermen one day on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, he invites you.
Until next time,