Devotional Stories to Help us Walk with Jesus:
The Day We Lost Four Good Men
The rays of early morning light shimmered on the cascading ripples of the Sea of Galilee. Yet, even at this early hour, men were busy working: off-loading fish caught during the previous night, inspecting and repairing their nets, and cleaning the decks of their boats. No effort was spared to make sure everything was ready by evening to go out again on the open sea. Exhausted, but more than satisfied with the day’s abundant catch.
Fishing this season has been good and very profitable. The fishermen’s families and the people in the village all benefited. Peter, Andrew, James and John were particularly recognized as good fishermen—a cut above the others. They worked hard and, with years of skill and mastery, fished well. Their experience regularly paid off with an extremely good return for their efforts. Thought of highly by the other men, they were looked upon as role models of what excellent fishermen should be.
Then Jesus showed up—and seemed to upset everything! As was His custom, He walked the beach each morning carefully observing the men while they worked on their boats. One day, Jesus stopped at Peter and Andrew’s boat. Being busy with their nets, they paid little attention to the stranger who was watching them.
Jesus called them directly by name, “Peter; Andrew—follow Me! I am going to make you fishers of men.” After that, Jesus went up the beach a bit further and stopped at the boat of James and John, and similarly, called to them, each by name, to follow Him to be fishers of men.
“Fishers of men”—what’s that all about? That’s not the only strange thing that happened. These four strong, rugged, hard-working fishermen just dropped what they were doing and, in that very moment, got out of their boats, left their crews behind—including Zebedee, the father of James and John—and began following this Rabbi. That was really weird!
Peter, Andrew, James and John—what were their families and friends to think? What’s to become of their profitable business? How were they going to support their families and continue to help their village? These four great fishermen, in a moment of time, just lost it! And, we just lost four good men!
I hear that this Jesus has gathered others to follow Him—a tax collector, a political activist and a few other unworthies—and, of course, our four good men. And, for what purpose? They follow Him all over the countryside. I’m not sure what they do or where they are going. I hear they stir up a heap of trouble wherever they go. This whole venture seems like a disaster in the making. We just want our four fishermen—our four good men—back home again! Frankly, I just don’t understand!
That was then, but this is now. Now I get it! Though Jesus did not call me to be one of His Twelve followers, He did cross my path one day and changed my life—my direction, my priorities and my passions—everything! It was all pretty amazing! I became a new person!
I suppose most folks in my village will never understand the way Jesus changes the heart of a person. For some, like our four good men, it was immediate and direct. Others, it is a process. But what comes out at the other end is the same—a new creation in Christ! (I Corinthians 5:17) Somehow, fish can’t compare!
Peter, in his own words, says it well—
You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9 TLV)
How well I remember the day we lost four good men, but . . .
What is a loss to this world is a gain to Christ and His Kingdom!
Look for the next parable on September 11.
As an active member of the family at Trinity, Don is a regular contributor to Trinity’s weekly eNews letter. He enjoys writing and has authored several books, including “This Ugly Disease—A Caregiver’s Journey into Pain, Anguish and Hope.” With biblical insights, his writings provide spiritual encouragement for many. His son and daughter-in-law, Graham and Susan, are also members at Trinity.