**Please be sure to read all around this passage so that you are getting it in context; and as always, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to the understanding that He would have you see. Passage: Matthew 4:18-25
First, let's get a little background on this passage from the IVP Bible Background Commentary:
Most people in Jewish Palestine depended on salted fish, wheat and barley for sustenance; fish products like fish gravies were thus also common. The fish of the Sea of Galilee included large carp; the fish would be dried, salted or pickled to preserve them. Fishermen were central to the Galilean economy and made a good living by the standards of their culture, far better than the large numbers of peasants who worked the land through much of the Roman Empire. It is thought that the casting net had a narrow end pulled by the boat and a wide end sunk by leads (contrast the larger dragnet of Mat_13:47); nets were probably made of rope or cords woven from flax, papyrus or hemp. IVP Bible Background Commentary
Interesting that being a fisherman back then was actually considered a good living. Maybe they were what we might term the "middle class" of their time. Either way, they saw Jesus and by his request dropped everything and began to follow him. I don't think that they just saw some guy walk up to them and suddenly decide to follow him. If you go back to verse 17 you get the sense that maybe Jesus had been preaching for awhile now and the word had been spreading. I think there is a good chance they already knew, at the very least, that there was a man preaching and healing in the area. Then, he shows up and asks them to become his disciples.
*Disciples normally chose to become students of a particular *rabbi, rather than a teacher calling his own disciples. IVP Bible Background Commentary
Though we always have free will and a choice, Jesus is the one who is always calling to us with that still small voice. He is calling for us to drop everything this world has to offer and join him in a desire to save the souls of the lost.
What does it mean to drop everything?
In the case of Peter and Andrew they dropped everything...family, their livelihoods and even what they were doing at that very moment. They didn't drop it because what they were doing was wrong...but because it was "in the way" of being able to have a relationship with Jesus. He was going to be traveling, they had to make a choice to go with him or to stay with what they were doing. They chose Jesus.
So how do we apply this to our lives today?
We too must "drop everything"! I hesitate to even say "but" here because we tend to focus on the "but" and not on the calling. However, ( another way of saying "but" [smile] ) we must understand the principle of what happened here so that we can appropriately apply it to our lives. The principle was this...they dropped everything that would have stopped them from following Jesus. In the case of Peter and Andrew, that meant literally everything. Does that mean that we should give up our jobs, our families, our friends and even our homes to follow Jesus. No, that would be only understanding this passage literally and not by principle. I think it means that we should be willing to "get rid of" or "drop" anything that gets in the way of a relationship with Jesus. For some of us that might very well mean leaving family...(may it not be so)...for others it might mean taking television out of their life, or finding a less stressful job. If Jesus calls us to "drop everything" and go to the mission fields or somewhere else, we should be willing...but it should be a calling and not influenced by our own desires. We must be careful with this concept...because as human beings we do have a tendency to become over zealous and lose track of the principle. Jesus also tackles this concept later in his ministry when He speaks of "if your eye offends you, pluck it out"...
The most important point is to follow. Listen to the small voice...respond to it. Jesus will never ask us to do something that we cannot do...but He may ask us to do something that is hard. Be willing to respond to Him; know that He loves you so very much and wants one thing more than all the glory in the universe....He (the Creator of all things) wants to have a relationship with you.
Dear Jesus- Lord and Saviour,
Thank you for loving me so much that you desire to have a relationship with me. Please Lord, give me the guidance and the strength to remove anything in my life that interfere's with that relationship. Give me the faith to choose you first Lord. I say that I love you, and I do, but help me to overcome and show it in my actions, words, and thoughts. Help me to help others and for the desire in my heart to grow...a desire to lead others to you. Please be with all of the prayer requests on the prayer request page. For those who need physical healing I ask that you heal them, that it may glorify you and show your power to the world. For those who need spiritual healing please whisper just a little harder in their ear. Thank you Lord for all that you supply in my life. Thank you for my church and my family...watch over them and keep them safe. Thank you for being my comforter...help me to remember to turn to you first Lord. Please be with me today as I teach the lesson. Forgive me of my sins Lord and make in me a new heart. I love you. Amen.