From the sideline to the front line

As Jesus started His public ministry, He began recruiting people who would be on His team. The people He selected were not influential community leaders or wealthy movers and shakers. A human resources person in our day would shudder in disbelief at the people He called. His priority was not picking five-star recruits, but making every recruit a five-star!

Four of the first people He selected were fishermen. Jesus saw something in them that nobody else saw. He saw immense potential. If you find excuses today for not following after Jesus, remember that He sees you quite differently from how you or others see you.

It’s easier to sit on the sidelines of life than follow Jesus to the frontlines. The sidelines are not the place for Jesus-followers. Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will teach you how to fish for men.” (Matthew 4:19) Their response was to get up immediately, leave their nets and livelihood, and begin to follow Him. They had been sitting on the sidelines all of their lives – now they were following Him to the frontlines.

Matthew 4:19 is the verse that contains His three recruitment strategies. Submitting to the strategies is essential for us today to move from the sidelines to the frontlines:

  1. Invitational – “Come, follow me.” That means that we never question if He made a mistake. Jesus never picked the wrong person. He didn’t tell them where they were going or when they would return. His invitation wasn’t because of their resumes or past accomplishments. His invitation was based on potential He saw in them that nobody else saw. What does Jesus see in you?

    Jesus didn’t invite the fishermen, nor us, for a Sunday afternoon stroll. He said, “If you follow me, you have to take up your cross.” (Matthew 10:38) There are no crosses on the sidelines. It is a “safe place” to be. But the frontline is where the action occurs. It’s dangerous and uncomfortable, but totally satisfying. It’s where we experience the fact that Jesus came that “we might have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
  2. Instructional – “I will teach you…” Now, that’s the best kind of teaching that you can ever receive. He said that He was going to be your instructor, your teacher, your coach.

    When God calls us, we sometimes wonder how we are going to do a certain thing. Our responsibility is not to rely on what we know, but to receive what He wants to teach us. He never leads us to a place that He doesn’t teach and equip us for. And He teaches us by example.
  3. Intentional – “…how to fish for men.” Peter, Andrew, James, and John had been fishing for fish all of their lives. He called them to a new kind of fishing – fishing for people.

    The purpose of following Jesus is to win people to His team – to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. The church can do a lot of good things, but the main thing is bringing people into God’s kingdom. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing!!

He’s calling – are you going to stay on the sidelines or will you follow Him to the frontlines? The choice is yours!

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