Each year for the past several years, I make it a point to read through the Bible in its entirety. I choose a different translation each year and the process has been incredibly rewarding.

That’s not what this blog post is about. Well, not completely. Each year as I go through the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) I find myself intrigued at something that for years I never paid any attention to: the response of the disciples to the call of Jesus.

Fishermen and a tax collector. That is what this rag-tag group of 12 followers of Jesus consisted of. Prior to spending 3 and a half years following Jesus around Galilee and Jerusalem, they had grown up, apprenticed, and started careers in the family business. In Matthew’s case, he had become a successful tax collector for the Roman occupiers. This certainly did not endear him to his Jewish brethren.

What floors me about this group of men is that across the gospels, we see a common response to Jesus’ call. That response? Immediate obedience.

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Multiple times we see the phrase, ‘and they left their nets and followed Jesus.’ No questions asked. They left their careers and families to follow this up and coming Jewish rabbi. There is no way that they could have anticipated the life change that this decision would bring about, but something about Jesus made them willing to ‘abandon it all for the sake of the call.’ (Sorry….couldn’t resist that one.) If you have no idea what I just referenced, watch this.

If you are a Christ follower, you have answered the same call. You have chosen to follow Jesus and do what He calls you to do, whatever the cost.

Early on in the Christian walk it is very easy to look at obedience through the lens of opportunity. However, as life happens, and things don’t go exactly as you planned for them to, obedience becomes an obligation. This is when we become the most susceptible to disobedience. Sometimes it isn’t even the blatant choice to walk away from God’s call. It can often be the disobedience of simply not doing anything.

We were never promised that the decision to follow Jesus would lead to a life of health, wealth, and fame (at least not by Jesus). When life gets difficult, it becomes even more important to view obedience to God’s Word as an opportunity to see what God wants to do in and through your life. Embrace the challenge of obeying His call regardless of what your earthly logic tells you. Remember Isaiah’s words that His ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). Trust His heart. Know that He will never ask you to do something that is not in your eternal best interest. There will be trials here on earth, but those trials will pale to the wonder of spending eternity in His presence.

Look for the opportunity. Don’t begrudge the obligation.

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