Oftentimes stories from the Bible are glamorized by focusing predominately on their supernatural properties. This can detract from the value and truth found in the simplicity of the Bible, and can obscure Jesus’ real ministry, which was always centered on people.
Just take a look at the disciples. They seemed to be a fairly ragtag crew, and they were sometimes extraordinarily slow to grasp spiritual concepts. But who did Jesus choose for kingdom work and the multiplication of the church? Yes, He chose ordinary people, not those who were trained religious leaders. And He found some of them at the beach!
Jesus encountered a couple of fishermen and helped them catch an incredibly large number of fish (Luke 5). It must have been impressive, but Jesus performed lots of miracles. However, on that particular day, the fishermen dropped what they were doing to follow Jesus. What made them leave everything to follow Him?
First, Jesus gave them their miracle moment. Second, He offered them a transformational moment by asking if they would join Him. I think that the essence of what Jesus said was this: “Hey guys, I know that fish thing was really cool, but I’ll tell you what: Follow me, and I will show you how to take the thing you think you know how to do, and make it really count in the kingdom.”
The moment the fishermen decided to follow Jesus, they became disciples. They learned from Him and emulated Him, and they also made mistakes. They boldly proclaimed kingdom truth in some moments, and they wavered in the next. In fact, they were very much like the people God has given me—and you—to disciple and lead.
Sometimes we get entangled in day-to-day tasks of ministry and forget that our focus must be on people. Our work is to go and make disciples. If we really love Jesus, we will tend His sheep.
Discipleship can, quite frankly, get messy, but it produces tangible fruit. And it’s seeing those concrete results that gives us the energy to continue going forward. In those moments, we realize that people really are the focus of God’s kingdom. Any success we have in the kingdom will come from our giving our best to God and investing in others so that they can do the same.
So, as we go about our daily activities, let’s be aware of the people God places in our paths—even at the beach. We just might be surprised by the people God has chosen to become kingdom multipliers!
By: Michael Howard, senior pastor of Soquel Foursquare Church in Soquel, Calif.