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Sunday, January 26, 2014

How God is like the Godfather

He makes me an offer I can't Refuse

Sunday’s Gospel has a verse that is one of my all-time favorites, as it speaks to the core of my soul:

“He said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’  At once they left their nets and followed him.” (Matthew 4:19-20)

For years after reading this verse, I always thought it was strange that these guys, on the shore, fixing their nets, literally just dropped everything they were doing and followed Jesus walking on the sand.  Can you imagine?  What strikes me is the immediateness of their decision.  At once. 

Later in the verse Jesus walks by two brothers, James and John, working with their father, Zebedee:

“He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.” (Mt. 4:22)

Here’s the family fishing business, Zebedee and Sons, Inc, and the two boys jet and go with Jesus.  I always thought, really?  Just like that?  Then yesterday morning at Men’s Group, one of the guys who knows a lot more about scripture than I do, unpacked it a little more.  He said that the Gospel writer Matthew writes specifically to a Jewish audience (which I didn’t know), and every Jewish person at the time knew that fishermen were not scholars, were uneducated.  At the time, he said that Jews knew that Jesus was a big deal, and when this scholarly opportunity of a prophet showed up at their boat, it was an equivalent of a well-known professor knocking on your high school son’s door offering a full ride to Harvard, Yale, or even better, Duke.  It was an opportunity they couldn’t pass.  This is why they immediately left.  This is why Zebedee was cool his sons were leaving---yes, go and pursue this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Or it was like Jesus was the good version of the Godfather: He gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

This passage strikes my soul because of who I am and what I feel God is calling to do with my life.  I take the line “I will make you fishers of men” very literally as I am very passionate about men’s ministry. I will fish for men.  Whether it’s through informal one-on-ones to counseling men at Centro Tepeyac to creating Cigar nights at UMD to partaking in a number of men’s accountability groups, I believe  that the more alive, passionate, driven, and disciplined men there are the better life is for everyone else, including everyone’s current or potential wives and children.

But what I stumble upon and get caught up with is the immediateness of action.  I teeter on deciding with what I know God is calling me to do.  I fear of failing.  So many times I won’t try with certain projects.  I often question if I’m relevant or if what I do matters, until I get a reminder that I am, even in a small way. 

I think what I struggle with most is that I fail to see God’s calling as an opportunity I cannot pass.  An offer I can’t refuse.  Because unfortunately, in the details of work day-to-day, I feel like I do let many moments get away. 

Lord, I ask that I have the courage to take each moment of each day as an opportunity I can’t refuse.  May I not get caught up in my nets, and instead get caught up in You.


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