A Summer of Facing Jesus…Dropping Nets

Oh, Lord, I pray you will bring me face to face with your holy and beloved son Jesus, my Savior and the Savior of this world! Open my heart to His whole being and character in a way that convicts me and draws me nearer. I desire to understand You more, to be shaped by your Presence so that I may glorify you in all I do and in all I am.

That is my prayer this morning and for the rest of this glorious summer break. Summer officially began two days ago, though I ended my teaching obligations last Thursday. I live for my summers. Not really– I live for Jesus!—but summer vacations are a fabulous perk to my crazy and demanding job.

Every summer I have a long list of goals. This one’s is the longest ever, due to the upcoming joyous events of my daughter’s wedding and my youngest leaving for college. But highest on my list, for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is to keep my sanity in all the flurry of Big Event activities, is to meet Jesus face to face. I’m not a clingy person by nature, but in this case, I have a longing to cling to God’s Son, my Savior.

So, I am going to wander in the gospels this summer and watch my Mentor live and love and be our Father to me and the world. It’s kind of like opening a family scrapbook. If you care to come along, I welcome and embrace your company. Please drop a note to share what God reveals to you in your encounters with Jesus.

Today finds me in Matthew 4.

Verse 19 quotes Jesus directly “I will make you fishers of men.” What jumped out at me today is how Jesus gathered His beloved flock, with a mission and purpose in mind, and in His statement acknowledged their ‘unfinishedness’, if you will. He recognized their potential, called them, brought them alongside, and promised HE WOULD MAKE them into what He designed—something totally different from what they were doing prior to and during this encounter.

Peter and Andrew knew fishing. I imagine they came from a long line of fishermen. It’s what defined them, to a certain extent. This makes me think of how often I survey my talents and positions in life to see how I fit into God’s service on Earth. Then I choose a committee or project or role based on self-reflection or perhaps a spiritual gifts survey. Maybe I choose to be involved based on a connection with another person, or a hobby I enjoy. (Would anyone like to join me in Quilting for Jesus? What about turning my new cooking interest into a Wok Ministry?!) Don’t get me wrong, whatever we do, we are called to do to the glory of God. Colossians 3:17-23 If we recognize an opportunity to serve and minister using what is already part of our lives and loves, we are compelled to do that, and God accepts our living sacrifice of service. Romans 12 But what I love about this verse today is the reminder that Jesus knows us far better than we know ourselves, or what some human-designed survey can summarize. He knows our hidden potential. And it is HE who grows that in us if we but follow Him wholeheartedly, without pre-deciding “Oh, I couldn’t possibly do such and such, or be that type of person.” He can make us into something entirely out of our scope of confidence, experience, or thinking. That’s so exciting!

I can’t even imagine the look on Peter’s Andrew’s faces or what crossed their minds when they heard, for the first time ever, from Jesus’ lips: “I will make you fishers of men.” Had they ever considered such a metaphor–such a shift in their life story? Probably not. But they dropped what they were doing—what was familiar and woven into them and their family life so deeply–and followed Jesus in a new direction.

My challenge today is to consider all the possibilities, and realize that of all the hundreds I can think of, God has thousands more I haven’t even considered! The second step is to pay attention for times He may prompt a shift in my life. This may come through a relationship, church community changes or needs, something I read or observe. The third is to let go of what is familiar and what I ‘usually do’ and then follow Him, trusting Him each step of the way as HE mentors me, stretches me, transforms me into what He desires. I don’t need to already be capable or already have the talents, means, time, even desire.

God will orchestrate the changes in me and provide the training!

Will you prayerfully keep yourself open with me today, and every day, to the prompting of God through His Spirit?  Let’s look and listen for Jesus to call us to drop our ‘nets’ and follow Him.

About An Earthen Vessel--Terri Apgar

Wife of one, mother of three, so grateful for God's grace--that's me. I'm just tucked into my bay window, opening my heart to God and trying to be brave about letting Him use all that He has crafted inside me to His glory.
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