“AT ONCE”

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At once they left their nets and followed him. (Mark 1:18)


Two brothers, Simon and Andrew, were casting their net into the sea when they heard the call of Christ, telling them to “Come, follow Me.” Scripture tells us that they left their nets “at once,” and this, to be sure, is the right response for all disciples of Christ when we hear His call: we are to respond at once!

There was no delay in their decision-making. Simon and Andrew did not think about the fish or about the net. They did not ask Jesus if there might be a more favorable time for them to follow wherever He intended to lead them. No, the two brothers responded resolutely—not with words of promise that they might one day fulfill, but rather with a witness that they put into practice at once.

Oh, how the sweet sound of “at once” echoes in eternity! The Lord’s lesson is clear: Never should we leave until tomorrow what our Lord has called us to do today. If I have learned anything during my years as a pastor, it is this: No one has ever served Jesus tomorrow.

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “That fatal tomorrow is blood-red with the murder of fair resolutions; it is the slaughter-house of the innocents.” Far too many in the church today have made shipwreck of their lives by waiting to respond to the call of Christ tomorrow. They have become snared in their own nets without ever realizing that the devil is in their delay.

Where does this message find you today? Have you been waiting for just the right time to answer the call of Christ in your life? Have you been putting it off until tomorrow? If your answer is, “Well . . . yes,” you are tangled in your own net of “Not yet.”

Personal experience has taught me that the time will never seem “just right.” Regardless of how long you’ve been planning and preparing, it is incredibly easy to convince yourself that it is not enough. I vividly remember the night before we launched the Cross Community Church plant in March of 2012. After years of study and prayer and planning and preparation, we were about to answer the call of our Lord. But suddenly, on the night before the launch, I was gripped by the certainty that we were not ready. I was caught in my own net!

Panicked and virtually paralyzed, I called my best friend and told him what I was feeling. I said that I didn’t believe we were ready to launch and that I wanted to delay it.

“Tommy,” my friend said firmly, “now you finally are ready, because you know you cannot do this! Only Jesus can accomplish this through you and Kim and your family.” The next day, with renewed resolve, we left our nets and followed Jesus into the joyful journey of church planting, which has continued for the past six years . . . and still counting!

Are you sensing God’s call on your life? Maybe you’re just like me, feeling fearful about “the great unknown” that lies ahead? Let me encourage you to leave your nets at once and follow Jesus. I can’t promise that the journey will always be comfortable, but it most certainly will be glorious!

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!        

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