And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed Him.
Jesus comes to Andrew, Peter, James and John on their own turf, in a place where they were comfortable. Fishing for a living, they would be out at sea often, weathered by the sun and long hours in a boat. When Jesus comes to them, they aren’t even out fishing anymore. They are cleaning their nets beside empty boats after a long night of unsuccessful fishing. But when Jesus comes along, Peter is willing to go back out when He asks him to. He could have said he was too tired or that it was pointless to go again when they’d just come back with nothing. But Peter responds to what Jesus asks him to do, and his obedience leads to a wonderful blessing from Jesus—a boat overflowing with fish.
Jesus knew these men well, just as He knows each of us. He knows our desires and strengths, our weaknesses and failings. He knows where our hearts lie and just how to get inside them. Peter, Andrew, James and John could understand profoundly the difference between their empty boats and Jesus’ overflowing nets. And what do these dedicated fishermen do after their most successful fishing trip ever? They forsake all to follow Jesus. When He called, they followed—not leaving behind a hobby or an interesting activity, but their livelihood.
We are not all fishermen. But Jesus will come to us in the place we can understand best who He is. He comes to us in different circumstances of our lives. He uses situations and other people to give us understanding and help open our hearts to Him. And what a comfort that He knows us so intimately and knows what will encourage or discourage us, what will pull us closer or push us away.
Whoever we are and wherever we are in life, Jesus will meet us there personally in a tender, careful way and ask for that first step of obedience. If we follow, He blesses us in an amazing way that stirs our hearts. So let’s not be afraid to trust Him when He asks us to, and let’s not be afraid to forsake our comfortable life of fishing for fish when we could be fishers of men. We can’t know the blessings we’ll miss if we refuse to follow wherever He may lead.