Carry on…You’re Ready
May 10, 2014
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan. (Matthew 4:18-25)
Commencement season has begun. Over the next month or so, we will be inundated online, on air, and in person, with grandiose speeches challenging eager listeners from kindergarten through college to embrace their dreams and seize life by the horns:
“Don’t settle for the small stuff.”
“You have what it takes to succeed.”
“Your hard work has prepared you for this challenge.”
Souls will be stirred. Dreams will be ignited. Plans will be made. Whether in a book or on a stage, these addresses suggest there is a pinnacle of readiness we must attain before moving forward in our lives.
Yet, sometimes these so-called climaxes of preparation come at the most unexpected times, whether we think we are ready or not. Could Simon Peter, Andrew, and the other disciples have imagined that as they cast their nets out to sea––a kind of back-breaking, monotonous work that was important, yet scarcely regarded as prestigious––that Jesus would call them to be his disciples, to carry on the good news of God’s love in Christ after he was gone? I think it’s safe to say, probably not.
Yet they went. The Gospel writers never tell us what fears or anxieties they may have harbored, but we can be pretty confident they had them. Uncertainty in life is a given. That is what makes their work so holy. It’s not because they knew what they were doing, but because they entrusted themselves, including their mistakes and fears, to Jesus. It was Jesus who made them ready. It was Jesus who was leading, guiding, and loving them. It was Jesus who prepared the way.
It’s a promise that remains true today. Indeed, it’s the good news of resurrection.
Carry on, friends. You’re more ready than you know.
As you go about the day, take time to give your burdens, dreams, and unfinished work to God. As you do, take slow, deep breaths and recall that God is a God who makes all things new. You may even want to pray those words aloud.