And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
These fishermen immediately left their nets to answer the call of Jesus to follow Him. What kind of faith was this? They were not learned men. In fact, the rest of the gospel narratives paint all too human portraits of the disciples, especially these fishermen. But somehow they were willing to leave their livelihoods and the only lives they knew to learn more from Jesus. He was compelling them with His message, His miracles, and His personal invitation.
What have I left behind? I look at my life and it has been marked by little else than Christian commitment. I do remember what it was like to be lost in a non-Christian home, but at age 7 that changed for me. Since that time, I have gone to Christian schools (from second grade through high school graduation), attended Bible Colleges (nothing worldly there!) and seminary. I have worked in secular environments (everywhere from warehouses, to construction, to banks and printing companies), but hardly have I set foot in daily contact with unbelievers or a worldly vocational concern in the past 15 years. What have I left behind to follow Christ?
I have reached the point in my life where I cannot say that I feel the sacrifice like I used to. And I don't believe that is a bad thing. In fact, I think it is very rewarding. Oh, I do have my struggles with the things of this world. You can't live and work in Johnson County, Kansas without seeing the excesses and sometimes wishing for more. That is what big box stores are for. If it isn't that latest gadget or car or flat screen television, it is something else new yet to hit the market. And we have it all here, in complete excess and extreme. But frankly, I have no desire to be motivated by materialism, so when that temptation comes, I can dismiss it. Materialism is not what I have left behind.
What I left behind was the option to direct my life to my own chosen end. When I came to Christ as Lord and began to follow Him, I gave Him all the options. And the result is now all my vocation. And I believe that as a minister of the gospel, I have the best job in the world. And what I don't have, I don't miss for two real reasons: 1) I never really had it to begin with & 2) Following Jesus yields me so much joy even in the hardest parts of the journey!