The fishermen drop their nets, leave everything behind, and go with Jesus. They leave without giving Zebedee a two weeks’ notice. There isn’t an implementation plan in sight, or an organization-wide memo notifying the staff to plan accordingly.
For a long time, I wondered if Zebedee was angry at his sons for leaving so suddenly. I assume that fishnets are difficult to gather up alone, so I’d be upset if these were my sons. How selfish of them to leave, Zebedee must have thought. After all the lessons and guidance he’d given them, they dropped their responsibilities to follow some man who draws a crowd. Even if this Jesus does know where the fish are.
But recently I’ve been wondering if these sons were ready for something else. Did they sense a nudge to move towards something beyond the waters of the lake? Had they been hesitant to leave the trade that provided for their families? Were they having second thoughts, since they were leaving work that they had prepared for their entire lives? Had they talked about this desire to do something else with each other—or were they scared to even say it out loud, since naming it would make it real? Maybe they kept such thoughts to themselves and went back to work: going through the motions mindlessly, picking at the nets, having the same conversations on the boat, meeting their daily quotas.
Then one day, the Creator made flesh, who knows every hair on their heads and every hope on their hearts, says Do not be afraid (v. 10). Was that the final nudge they needed to take the first step towards a dream bigger than they could have imagined?
When do you sense a holy nudge that asks you to imagine a bigger dream?
God of big dreams, give us the courage to dream with you and the strength to take the first step towards them and you. Amen.