Remember when you “left your net?”

At once they left their nets and followed him” (Matt. 4:20, NIV).

A curious thing has been happening with me lately. I have begun to pick up my net again. 

Let me explain. I am soon turning forty. This represents almost nineteen years since God first invited me to drop my net and follow him into vocational ministry. I remember the moment like it was yesterday. I walked away from a corporate career to take a youth pastor role in a church that boasted just three teenagers in their youth group. This response of saying yes to Jesus instantly reduced my salary by 60%. 

Dropping my net created the need to navigate the dismay of loved ones who had invested in my education to boost my corporate career. My “yes” to Jesus also meant relocating to a tiny two traffic light city in a county – seemingly a land that time had forgotten. Yet, I did it all with a smile. In saying “yes” to Jesus I was full of hope, expectation, passion to change the world and a resolve to endure whatever would come my way.

So, what happened?

As I sat the other day in a moment of reflection, I became overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. Future, finances, position, influence, impact and family all became words that flooded my thoughts. What I came to realize, after nineteen years of following Jesus, was that I had started to pick up my net again. My net represented:

  • Salary
  • Retirement
  • College funding for my kids
  • A new van for the family
  • Security
  • Braces
  • Health care
  • Etc…

What about you?

Do you remember dropping your net and following Jesus?

What does your net represent?

Have you been tempted to pick it up again?

As I recognized ways I was picking up my net and how this was creating fear and anxiety within me, I took three action steps that I encourage you to consider for your own life and leadership:

  1. Embrace God’s faithfulness. Take some time to map out all the ways God has been with you since dropping your net. How has he provided? Protected? Guarded?
  2. Embrace God’s grace. He is not mad at you for wanting to pick up your net. But, you can’t both pick it up and fully follow Jesus. Do you need to surrender your net again? God will give you the grace to do so. He will also embrace you with grace when you empty your hands.
  3. Embrace God’s truth. “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4, NIV). Are there 3-4 Bible verses that have guided you up this point in your mission? Encouraged you? Comforted you? Take some time to reflect on God’s truth.

The battle is real! Satan wants you to pick up your net again and return to trying to do it all yourself. Jesus invites you, yet again today, to drop that net and follow him! Release that net immediately and allow yourself to be led by Him. Trust that He is with you now and forever. You will never regret it!

In the fight with you,

Dr. Taylor Williams