Disciples of Jesus are followers of Jesus. They walk not only where He walks, but in the manner in which He walks. It means that we acknowledge the lordship of Jesus and seek to see that lordship actualized in every area of our lives. That’s what disciples do. Jesus’ first call to discipleship in Scripture gives us a good picture of how a disciple responds to Him:
As He was passing along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, Simon’s brother. They were casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen. “Follow Me,” Jesus told them, “and I will make you fish for people!” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. (Mark 1:16–18)
Notice particularly what happened in that passage. The call of Jesus went out, and the men dropped their nets. Now I’m sure there’s a practical component to this—they dropped their nets because that’s what they were holding at the time. You can’t really walk off following some random rabbi with a bunch of fishing nets in your hands. Still, it does seem like a strange detail to include in the account. Mark didn’t say, “They shielded their eyes from the sun” or “They took a step out of the boat.”
They dropped their nets. They symbolically left their old way of life. They broke with the past—their past vocation, their sense of self, and their identity— and fully embraced the future. Those nets were the symbols of their livelihood—the very tools they would use to make their way in the world. And they dropped them and instead followed Jesus. That’s what a disciple does.
Disciples recognize the worth and value of the One who calls and see the “nets” in their hands in comparison to Him. They suddenly realize that they have a greater purpose than merely fishing; so they leave and follow Jesus instead. For disciples, following Jesus is both an exit and an entrance; an ending as well as a beginning. They charge off, not knowing exactly what the future entails, but knowing that whatever it is they’ll follow Jesus into it.
That’s how all of us started our life with Christ. And it’s a commitment that we renew day after day, moment by moment. Following Jesus is something that doesn’t only require a piece of a person; it requires the whole of who we are and what we have. It’s an all-the-time thing…
Excerpt taken from my book Boring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life.