Do you remember doing plays as a child? I sure do. In the second grade, my class had all kinds of plays. We had decorations. We invited our parents. And they listened to our squealy, little voices while each of us played our roles.
Then, there were those plays in our reading books. Those moments when different students in the class read different characters. And oftentimes, there were more students than roles to play. Therefore, only those who wanted to participate would get a role. Likely the talkative ones. And the rest of the class would sit back and listen to the story.
But it’s not the same. There’s a big difference between listening to a story and playing a role in that story. There’s a big difference between listening to other students and having something to say yourself.
The older I get, the more I learn the importance of belonging. We all long to belong to something bigger than ourselves. And in our culture, it’s easy to believe that we can find true belonging apart from God. It’s easy to believe that if we can reach a certain status, then we can find satisfaction. It’s easy to believe that meaning and purpose can be found in this world.
Besides having a relationship with God, I believe the most beautiful thing about life is realizing that we have a part to play in the narrative of God’s story.
Let’s draw our attention to the Bible.
“While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he [Jesus] saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him” (Matt. 4:18-20 ESV).
Jesus is walking by the Sea of Galilee. It’s actually a lake. And nine towns rest alongside the Sea of Galilee. It’s a time of flourishing fisheries. Fishing is a big industry.
And there were three different ways to fish in those days. They could fish with a line. They could fish with a casting net. Or, they could fish with a dragnet. And in Matt. 4:18-20, Simon Peter and Andrew used a casting net.
Now, the casting net was a gigantic circle. It had lead pellets around the top circumference. The fishermen would lower the net into the water and let it sink. Then, once the fish entered the net, they would pull it up.
That’s what Peter and Andrew are doing when Jesus walks by. And Jesus sees them.
You know that Jesus sees you? Right here. Right now. In the ordinary, everyday parts of your life. While you’re going about your day. He’s not removed from your life. The pain, struggles, and circumstances. He sees them all. He gets you.
I mean, think about it. Here are two smelly fishermen. Going about their usual routine. Doing their day’s work. And Jesus walks by. Not to ignore them. But to see them. The same is true for me and you.
Then, Jesus calls Peter and Andrew to Himself. He says, “‘Follow me …’” (v. 19).
He didn’t see them to turn away. He didn’t notice Peter and Andrew to simply keep walking. He didn’t recognize their condition only to leave them hanging. Instead, He extended an invitation.
And Jesus Christ offers the same invitation to me and you. Following Jesus isn’t the road to comfort. It’s not the road to safe or easy. It’s not the road to fame or fortune. Following Jesus means dying to ourselves, turning from our sins, and giving ourselves to Him.
But it’s the only way to true love. It’s the only way to find true and lasting satisfaction. And in a world full of false hopes, lesser loves, and promises that can’t be kept. Following Jesus leads to a life of belonging. A life of purpose. A life of meaning. It leads to a life that’s full, adventurous, and joyful.
But wait! There’s more.
Jesus saw Peter and Andrew as they were, called them to Himself, and promised to give them a part to play in His story. Consider the rest of verse 19.
Jesus says, “‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men’” (ESV).
You see, Jesus didn’t just call Peter and Andrew for the sake of saving them and letting them go. He didn’t just invite them to follow. He invited them to join His team. He gave them a part to play. To fish for people. To glorify God through the making of disciples.
And the same is true for you. God desires to rescue you from your sin. Nothing beats that. But upon saving you, He desires to use you for the coming of His Kingdom.
You have a part to play.