Monday, September 16, 2019

How to Recruit Followers

Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was 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 fishers of men."Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.  Matthew 4:18-20
Many years ago the great explorer, Sir Francis Drake, was attempting to recruit a number of young men for an upcoming exploration.  He gathered them around and told the group that if they came with him they would see some of the most marvelous things their eyes could ever behold; sandy white beaches, juicy fruits, foreign peoples, priceless treasures, and gorgeous landscapes.  He told them that this wild adventure could be theirs if they came with him.  Not one of them enlisted for the journey. 
The next day a different group came out. Drake told them that if they came with him, they would encounter storms that would terrify them to tears.  Fierce winds would hammer them and blow them off course for months.  Water would frequently be scarce.  At times they would be so thirsty that their very souls would cry out for simply one drop of water.  In short, danger would always be their constant companion.  Drake concluded by declaring that if they could handle these things, the joys of exploration would exceed their wildest dreams.  Every single one of them in the group joined Sir Francis Drake that day, some did not even go home to say goodbye to their families, they just boarded the boat eager for the journey.
What made the difference in these two groups? Why did the first group turn down the mission and the second jump at the chance?  Was the second group different and more adventurous than the first?  The answer is: No.  It is not the men who had changed; it was the message. The first spoke of rewards; the second spoke of challenges.  The first offered comfort; the second promised testing.  The first tempted them with things; the second seduced them with an experience unlike any other.  I like to think that Sir Francis Drake discovered what Jesus knew all to well.  And that is this: The paths that are offered to us must promise some value beyond material if they are to have any appeal to us at all.  If we are presented with a challenge that will make a lasting difference, we will be more eager for the journey.  
When Jesus called His disciples he made clear the cost when He said, "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves."But beware of men, for they will hand you over to thecourts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.”Matthew 10:16-18This was certainly no invitation to a party.
There are many opportunities that come our way and call on us to follow.  Choosing to involve ourselves in something that has lasting impact turns our lives toward purpose instead of only pleasure.  What is it about Jesus' message that made the disciples eager for the journey?  That is what we will discover in the next few days.

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit,fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13

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