Drop your net so you can learn from Jesus
Pat Cheatham had the most unique job in San Angelo. For a quiet, unassuming man, he could quickly become the focus of attention when someone asked him what he did for a living. “I’m a blacksmith,” he would say. There weren’t too many of those around. My official count was “1.”
Pat worked at Fort Concho. He knew how to be a “smithy.” He hammered. He pounded. He shaped. He watched as different items took shape on his anvil. Tools. Horseshoes.
I figured there was a blacksmith school somewhere you went to. The rules were simple. No horsin’ around! Measure twice, pound once. Heat until the center is white. You’d carry your anvil in your backpack. The diploma was made of iron.
I was surprised to find there were no such schools. Instead, Pat learned his art by becoming an apprentice of a skilled blacksmith. He talked with him. He worked side by side with him. He learned his way of life. Although his style might have been a degree different, the imprint of the mentor was in every stroke of the metal. “How would he do it?” “What would he say?” “How would he react?”
In the same way you are somebody’s disciple. You learned to live life from somebody. Despite the fact that we live in a society of “self-made” people, the truth is we aren’t. Others have made us. Parents. Peers. Playmates. Professors.
One of the major transitions of life is to recognize who has taught us or “master”-ed us and then to evaluate the results in us of their teaching.
Many never make the transition. But for those who do a way is opened to choose other masters — maybe even better ones. And to choose the one Master above all.
One day Peter and Andrew were given the opportunity to choose. They were fishermen. It was their life. They ate, drank and slept fish. On this particular day they were casting their nets into the sea because they were fishermen.
The nets were important to them. The nets represented their salary. The nets represented their self-identity. The nets represented their security. All they knew to do each day was to cast the nets into the sea because they were fishermen. Someone had taught them. Someone had shown them how to throw the nets and pull in the catch of the day. Someone had taught them how to market the fish and pocket some money.
They had been discipled in catching fish. But this day they were given an opportunity to learn something new. Jesus came and said, “Follow me and I’ll teach you how to catch men.” Jesus knew what he was doing because he caught Peter and Andrew. They left their nets and followed.
These few short verses teach us much about following Jesus. For one, you can’t follow well if you’re carrying around your nets. You have to leave them behind. The nets can be so many things in our lives. They are the things that preoccupy us.
Our nets are the things that keep us from following well.
Do you carry around the net of guilt? You’ll have to drop it to follow Jesus.
Is your net one of being unsure of God’s love for you? You’ll be afraid to go if you’re still carrying it.
Do you need to cast the net of disobedience? Drop it so you can follow in the way Jesus is walking.
Maybe you are tangled up in the net of pride. You just can’t humble yourself enough to say you need Jesus to teach you anything new.
Or maybe your net is your work. Your entire identity is tied up in what you do. And you’re afraid that if you follow Jesus something in that might have to change.
Or perhaps your net is your schedule. Like Peter, Andrew, James and John, you have a daily routine. You’re over-committed but you don’t know what else to do with your time.
Nets can keep us from following well. If you’re carrying around a net, you’ll have a difficult time following Jesus. You may even lose sight of him because you can’t see around your net or it keeps you from keeping up with him. You’ll have to leave your net.