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On your Mark

Eleven life-changing words

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. (Mark 1:16-18, NIV)

No one outside their own small town knew them. They were just two young brothers trying to make a living at commercial fishing.

Then Jesus gave them an invitation that changed their lives forever. It’s an invitation He also gives to you.

1. Come! Before Jesus can do anything in your life, you must begin to move in His direction. The whole of the Christian life involves coming to Him — culminating in that great day when your coming to Him will be so permanent that you will live with Him forever.

2. Follow! When you start following Jesus, you do not know where you will go. But, this one thing is sure — you will go with Him. Better to go with Him than anyone else!

3. Me! Jesus calls you not to follow an ethical system, a religious ideal, or a code of restrictions. His invitation is personal. It calls for exclusivity — follow Him, and no other.

4. And! Jesus has more in mind for you than just being a follower. The “and” connects you to a larger meaning for your existence. Without the “and,” you are only responsible to follow. But He’s got bigger plans for you than you have for yourself.

5. I! Jesus personally proposes to take charge of your life. All of us have family and friends who influence us — but Jesus brings deep change. We only know Simon and Andrew because they were known first to Jesus. He revolutionized their lives, as He seeks also with you.

6. Will! Jesus does not say “may.” There is no uncertainty in His voice. You can rely on His ability to transform you.

7. Make! From the Gospels, it is clear the making was not all at once. Jesus may have to demolish some stuff in your life first in order to make room for His splendid purposes. You will love the extreme makeover of His finished work in you.

8. You! That means you specifically! Jesus’ call is not generic — it is personal. He knows your name and what you are doing with your life, just as He knew the names and occupations of His first disciples.

9. Fishers! Simon and Andrew, by trade, fished. That’s the only natural ability that is ever noted of them. You probably are not a fisher, but you have some interests, some talent. Jesus will build on what you offer Him.

10. & 11. Of Men! Is wealth your goal? Then accumulate things. Is being smart your goal? Then gather facts. Is fame what you seek? Then find whatever brings you attention.  Jesus offers something far better than wealth, smartness or fame. He calls you to people.

These 11 words in the English text of Mark’s Gospel forever changed the destiny of Simon and Andrew. They dropped everything at once and followed Jesus.

What will you do? Jesus comes to you as He did to these two young brothers. They never regretted accepting His invitation, and neither will you.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

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