Blog: Leaving the Familiar

Pastor Kevin Pauley

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 into fishers of men!"  Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.  Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in their boat mending their nets.  Immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed Him. - Mark 1:16-20 HCSB

Being a disciple of Christ entails a willingness to leave what is familiar. I’m not saying that if we decide to follow Jesus He will always make us leave our homes and go to Africa or New Guinea. But sometimes going after Jesus will involve leaving behind those things that are most familiar and comfortable to us.

Consider the metaphor of marriage. Jesus Christ calls Himself the groom and the Church is called His bride. Ephesians 5:31 talks about the marriage relationship and says, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

In any loving relationship, it is necessary to set some things aside; not because they are necessarily evil but because we simply cannot have both. We must, to a certain extent, set aside our first family in order to start a new one with our spouse. We must, to a certain extent, lessen our commitment to our parents in order to be responsible for our new spouse and children. In order to have a successful marriage, we have to be willing to set aside what we’ve been familiar with for the first twenty odd years of our lives and take on something new.

The Bible says that Simon and Andrew were fisherman. They had likely been fishermen their entire lives. It was basically all they had ever known. But when the Master called them, they left their comfortable, well known and successful occupation to become disciples of Christ.

When Christ makes His call to us, there are some things that we must leave. We may not follow Christ and still keep our old sinful habits. We cannot make Him the master of our lives and still be the boss ourselves. We cannot keep drinking too much or keep misusing drugs. We cannot keep turning to food for comfort. We will not necessarily be able to keep the same friends.

There is a cost to discipleship and the primary cost is paid in those areas with which we are the most familiar.

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