As you can see in my previous post, I’m doing a little study on Matthew in light of the subject of money. How did Jesus run his ministry from a financial point of view? What did he teach? But more importantly, how did he live?
I covered Matthew 4 and the temptation of Christ in the last post. We’ll continue with Matthew 4, in particular vs 18 – 22:
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
The immediacy of the disciples’ leaving what they were doing and following Jesus has always struck me as interesting. Now I’m aware that some of the other Gospel accounts tell the story in more detail and Matthew is looking to get past the details quickly. But, nevertheless, the reality is that the disciples were eager to leave their livelihood – their careers and the very thing that supported them and their family (Peter was married, see Matthew 8:14) and follow Jesus.
The application is obvious: there will come a time when God might ask us to do just this – leave our livelihoods for the sake of a ministry he is calling us to. Or, if not, the fact is that our livelihoods and / or careers ought to mean far less to us than our following Him. Our ministry should mean less too. Or, to put it another way, we need to see our jobs as a kind of ministry and see how we are to be fishers of men within the context of what we do.
But there is another application. None of the Gospel accounts have any of the disciples asking Jesus what they are going to get paid. It seems that this just wasn’t an issue. Was it because Jesus actually had a bit of money? Or that his ministry was visibly earning quite enough? Perhaps.
But this is the point: Jesus always seems to have enough. See, when we trust him in this area of our lives, we need to realise that he is able to provide. In his season, of course. Our responsibility is to follow Jesus, not to worry about the earning but leave the income to Him.
Easier said than done, of course, and I don’t negate the gift of many people who are good with money. That’s a gift God has given them that they can use to help others. But see, even in that, God is providing. We are not to worry about it, Jesus has enough, so we can drop our nets – our source of income, as it were – and follow Him. Our relationship with Him and the mission He has to make us ‘fishers of men’ is far, far more important. He’ll provide the rest. (Literally and metaphorically!)