Something that you may not know about me is that I absolutely LOVE collecting Bibles. I have so many different translations. I realise what a privilege that is for us South Africans. There are places around the world where they are strictly forbidden. I can hardly wrap my brain around that!! Two years ago I sat in a lounge with a couple from China who are pastors of the underground church. All I could do was weep as they shared of the persecuction taking place of Christians standing up for their faith. The amazing thing they shared was that the more oppression and persecution - the greater the amount of people surrendering their hearts to Christ! Wow!! I have to remind myself not to take our openly shared / celebrated faith for granted. I remember them sharing how they smuggle chapters of the Bible in at a time, tear sections of the Bible out and share it amongst the hungry believers! How many of our Bibles are dusty?! I am totally preaching to myself today.
Back to my beginning ... at the start of this year I added to my collection by buying a lovely "One Year New Testament Bible for Busy Moms" to work through. I am loving it. There is just enough in each day to really speak to my heart. Last night I read the account of Jesus calling apart the first disciples ... "One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers - Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew - throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out out to them, "Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!". And they left their nets at once and followed him. A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called to them, too. They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind. " (Matthew 4:18-22)
There is so much that I just LOVE in these words. I love how Jesus' words call out to us today as they did to Simon & Andrew so many years ago ... He wants to teach us how to fish for people. This last year I realised again how many people are just waiting for someone to show them, in love, that the hunger and need inside of them is for Jesus ... the Saviour! I want to be bolder in this area this year.
I also love their response to Jesus ... they left their nets AT ONCE and followed Jesus! James and John had the same response to His call ... IMMEDIATELY they followed Him, leaving behind all that would try to hold them back.
Here's what grabs my heart ... what do I need to leave behind in order to move on towards the exciting adventure that Jesus is calling me to? Sometimes there are things that hold us back. If I really look at what James and John left behind ... it must have seemed ludicrous to their family. To walk away from your income and the comfort of your everyday life?! Oh, but the treasures that they reaped, not merely on earth, but for all eternity. We are reaping from their obedience to learn from and follow Jesus. I have learned that what seems like a loss or sacrifice, God always uses to bring even more freedom, beauty and life. I am searching my heart today to see what I may need to leave behind - even if it may seem like such a normal part of my everyday life. Hmmm ... lots to think about tonight.