It does not take one long to see the seriousness and magnitude of Christ’s call to discipleship as one examines the call of Christ’s early followers. In fact, Jesus calls His followers to radical living. Well…I may say normal living because all Jesus followers are called to this kind of living. Furthermore, this call of Jesus results in our mandate—making disciples of all nations. This radical living is not simply a new way of life or the newest self-improvement strategy. Rather, this radical living is quite simply running hard after Jesus. The call to discipleship is the call to follow Jesus.
Unfortunately, in 21st century, Westernized Christianity, we have substituted our call in the Christian life for church involvement. We have been convinced that the more involved we are with activities of the church, the better Christian we become. So, we become involved with this ministry and that organization and this committee, and quite frankly we have taken our eyes off of the One we are to be following. James M. Boice bemoans,
“Even in the church we are far more often encouraged to join this committee, back this project, or serve on this board than we are counseled to examine our relationship to God and His Son Jesus Christ. So long as we are performing for the church, few question whether our profession is genuine or spurious” (Christ’s Call to Discipleship, 15).
Discipleship is not about performing, but about running. Where is the running hard after Jesus?
As mentioned above, the result of running hard after Jesus is a full-hearted embrace of our mandate—the Great Commission. The Great Commission, which can be referred to as the Christian’s “marching order,” is simply the bi-product of our call to “follow” Jesus.
The call of the Christian is to follow Christ without reservation. Notice what Jesus says in Matthew 4:19, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Fishing (our Commission) is the bi-product of following Christ. Our first responsibility as a disciple is to follow hard after Jesus.
I say hard after Jesus because men like Peter forsook everything to follow Christ. Not every Christian is called to vocational Christian living, but every Christian is called to full-time Christian living. The problem is that we have said that “if we are not vocational Christians, then we can be vacational Christians.” There is no such understanding in the Bible as vacational Christians.
The call of the Christian is to follow Christ at any cost. Our primary responsibility is to follow Christ, to learn to be like Christ. Performing, as mentioned earlier, is only the bi-product of following Christ. Many Christians have reversed Jesus’ call. For many, today, the call in the Christian life is “fishing,” “teaching,” “serving,” “advising,” etc. These are the bi-products of the call. The call is first to follow. I may add here, too, that the bi-product is Jesus’ doing. He will make us fishers of men.
Are you following hard after Jesus? If so, is there evidence that you have gone fishing?