Mending Your Nets

The Ancient Tools of Net Mending (Still Used Today)

“And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them.”

Matthew 4:21, ESV

“And immediately they left their nets and followed him.”

Mark 1:18

Fishing takes considerable effort. There is always something that needs to be done. To be honest, there is very little relationship between the 1st century commercial fisherman and our modern day guy on a new bass boat (with a big fridge for his beer.)

To mend nets was tedious but necessary. You would take your net and spread it on the ground in a open space. Every knot would be carefully examined. All holes would be repaired. Nothing was overlooked. Fishing nets were painstakingly maintained. Everyday, without fail.

Fish would school, and if your gear was right, and you were in a prime place, you could catch a lot. But at the same time, you could let hundreds of fish escape through a hole in your net. Each fish that escaped meant money lost.

Jesus walking along the beach surveyed the boats and crews. Since most of these guys had worked through the night, they were tired and maybe a bit “punchy.” Some had gotten somewhat lucky, while others had very little to show for working so hard. Most likely the different crews teased each other as they unloaded.

Jesus walked through the bunches of fisherman. He looked at their hauls to see what they had caught. But it wasn’t the catch He was looking at, it was the men. It was from these laboring fishermen that He would choose. These men were rough and tumble rednecks.

He stands and looks, and then commands. “You! Come and follow me, now.”

Now if you are looking for disciples– future apostles and leaders, the seashore is not the best place to recruit. They really have a rudimentary education. No theology, and just a meager understanding of Jewish ritual and religion. Essentially there was no time for them to think outside their occupation. Sure there just might be one, or two that possessed more, but that would be the exception.

But Jesus had no desire to interview them, and take the best of the lot. He didn’t have a Human Resources Department, there were no tests, and no forms that had to list references. He simply commanded, and those who understood followed. Only after they left it all did He get their names and addresses. I think that it is the same today.

Will we leave our boat, with the nets? Really, you can keep mending or you can follow Him– it’s your choice. Most of the time though, decisions have a tendency to be irrevocable. You have a moment, an instant of time to decide. Mending nets can be back-breaking and quite tedious. But following the Lord Jesus is an unknown. Many choose to keep mending. Others are launched into something new, and eternally significant.

The glaring truth is the necessity of obedience to Jesus’ command. There is no other voice we must hear. As a matter of fact, hearing (and really apprehending) is the only foundation we can trust to make our obedience true. You can keep mending your nets and preparing for another night on the water. That is always your prerogative. But if you decide to follow you will need to leave what you know behind. That is authentic discipleship.

bry-signat-1
cropped-christiangraffiti1 (2)

Steps to Use, [Making Wise Decisions]

for-his-glory

The decision to make decisions that will please God is in itself a monumental step.  It means you have come to the place where it matters.  It’s coming to the place where I say “Yes” to all that God says yes to and “No” to everything He has forbidden.  The willingness to be guided is itself a powerful thing.

A fundamental principle to begin with: Every heart has a throne, the question is– who sits on it? 

Step 1:  Putting God First.

In part you have already done this just by your eagerness to do His will.  You  have made a deliberate decision to honor and esteem Him by letting God be completely God.  It is likely that God will withhold His direction if you have no real intention of doing it.  You will just sputter around in the dark. Your life will be painfully empty.

Step 2:  Worship Him willingly.

For me, to commence praise & worship is like firing up the nuclear power plant that I have in my backyard.  It is a source of unlimited energy that I have at my disposal, but it’s not about me at all.  When I start to worship, it must be all about Him.  It’s His character, attributes, love and grace I lift up to be examined by all.

“But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.”

John 4:23

Step 3:  Read the Word faithfully.

Guidance often comes when we turn to the Bible for light.  Each part or style of my “leather bound Book” is a purposeful and deliberate unveiling of truth.  After 25 years since I became a Christian, the Bible has shown itself over and over to be important.  The Life of David has been rich, and Daniel as well.  I needed to discern the difference between:

  • A moral decision that concerns things that are right & wrong, evil & good.
  • A non-moral decision that directs me in the areas of preference and direction.
  • Reading the Bible provides us with all that we need.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet
       and a light for my path.” 

Psalm 119:105

Step 4:  Seek out the counsel of elders and veteran saints.

The Church has this big ‘brain-trust’ at her disposal whenever she needs it.  There is accumulated wisdom and insight that often is ignored or not even considered.  My life has changed because of my contact with these older saints.  Most of them never really recognized the imprint they were having on me, my marriage, or my ministry.  I realize that I stand on the shoulders of giants, that I only see further because they were willing to raise me higher.  We will fail in decision making if we will not involve our elders.

“Plans fail for lack of counsel,
       but with many advisers they succeed.” 

Prov. 15:22

Step 5:  Prepare yourself to walk by faith.

The scripture is jam-packed with people who had to have faith.  They are everywhere and they are doing everything!  But, all through faith.  I got to thinking about Noah, and his faith.  Directed to construct an ark, which took him years and years.

“It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before.”

  Heb. 11:7

Faith is defined as trusting God to carry out His unseen promises.

 “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” 

Heb. 11:1

Step 6:  Concentrate on eternal purposes.

I have heard it said, that this life is very short, and only what is done for Christ will last.  I believe this. Matthew also tells us to seek first the kingdom of God, and everything else will be given to you.

It is the kingdom that must be paramount.  The kingdom is carried around in our hearts; it is the place where the King dwells and rules.

These are not just noble and lofty thoughts to be smiled at, humored and regarded as quite quaint.  This is for real, these are concrete realities that we choose. God’s will is not some abstract, it is as specific as the believer wants or needs it to be.

Summary

I honestly believe that you and I can know deep inside us what constitutes a Godly decision.  It very often is on the path of greatest humility.  And when you meet up with humility, you will find faith– and then follows goodness.  And as you accrue these qualities it becomes much easier to make Godly decisions.

 

bry-signat (1)

cropped-christiangraffiti1.jpg

#

Recommended Reading 

“Decision Making and the Will of God,” by  Garry Friesen, J. Robin Maxson

When He Questions You

  1. “But what about you?” he asked.
  2. “Who do you say I am?”

Matthew 16:15, NIV

I would suggest to you, that these two questions are quite pivotal and critical.  Nothing explains a man or woman more.  Nothing means more, or is of greater consequence than how you answer these two questions. One by one, we are led to this particular place, and it is required of us to explain ourselves.  And essentially that is what will happen.  We have to come to a decision.

“What about you?”  The first question asked, reduces us and causes us to come to a place of personal responsibility.  We dare not sidestep, or look for an emergency exit.  The issue, front and center is “you.”  It must be stated that questions like this one is not a way to stay popular.  You don’t win people’s hearts like this.  “What about you?”  In my mind this is a whole lot of personal decision-making.  Commitment is not easy.  (And if it is too easy, be very alert.)

The second question, “Who do you say that I am?” is masterful.  Jesus is speaking to those close disciples.  Essentially he is asking them to decide, once and for all, his placement into their lives. 

  • Is he a good teacher?
  • A healer?
  • A revolutionary or social catalyst?
  • A prophet?

He is all of these–but much more.  It’s interesting that Jesus never took a lesser position.  He was the “Son of God.”  He comes to us, and asks us to decide for ourselves.

The decision awaits us.  When we gather up information to evaluate him, it isn’t “Trivial Pursuit.”  Our decisions are quite significant and defining.  This here are the ultimate “fork in the road.”  Our lives will extrapolate out and then take us to places we never thought we would be.  Jesus knows this, he understands us.

In conclusion, another question.  Are you even ready to be addressed with these two ultimatums?  Are you in a “good place” where you are even approachable?  We all must go through this gauntlet of blazing truth, and decide for oneself.  Truly blessed is the person who will not stumble in this place of decision.

 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!

Deut. 30:19, NLT

recite-25825-95458975-1jznxku