My husband, Scott, and I both have vivid memories of the morning we met. We both remember some of the same logistical details, but our sentiments associated with the events are completely different. One glance was all it took for him to jump head first into the deep sea of love. My first sight of him left me just a bit curious about who he was and thinking he had a wonderful smile. I was more comfortable sitting on the edge, just dipping my toes in the water.
As eager as he was, Scott remained patient yet persistent with me. We went on a few dates. A couple of months later he asked me to marry him. I was fond of him, but turned him down. We continued to date. He proposed again. The second time I couldn’t say no, but I also had a hard time saying yes. I knew I wanted to marry him and felt like his proposal was one of the best things to ever happen to me, but I like to analyze, plan, and prepare. I was uncomfortable handling a significant life decision on short notice. I thought I needed more time.
Scott’s spontaneous and all-in attitude eventually won me over. We met in September, were engaged by Christmas, and married the following June. Scott never had to ask himself the question about whether or not he wanted to marry me. He always knew his answer was yes. It took asking me twice and a good bit of Mexican food before I could finally say yes.
James and John were all-in men too, only their yes was to Jesus. They were brothers who worked in their father Zebedee’s fishing business. Zebedee was likely proud of the strong, smart men they had become. At this point Zebedee might have begun to scale back on the physically demanding responsibilities, letting James and John do the hard work. He might have had retirement and grandchildren in his sights. Maybe he was ready to sit on the dock, dangle his feet in the water, and wave to his sons as they set sail for a long day of fishing on their own.
One day, Jesus walked up to their boat and called James and John to follow him. Neither one thought twice or had any hesitation. They both said yes and left. Jesus was already convinced they were the right men for the task of disciple or else he wouldn’t have asked. He didn’t offer them much in the way of persuading words or explicit expectations. Just come, follow. No one had ever been a disciple of the earth-living, oxygen-breathing Son of God before. There was no precedent. Still, their answer was yes.
They left Zebedee holding the empty nets of the family business. Although it’s not recorded in scripture, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Zebedee received some kind of call too. After all, God knew what it was like to have a son leave home on a mission unlike any other in all of eternity. Maybe Zebedee’s comfort came in knowing that his sons were not leaving empty handed. They were taking with them everything he had taught them to be, the kind of men Jesus wanted as disciples. The kind of men who say yes to Jesus.
The story is told in only two verses of Matthew Chapter 4. It’s a short, beautiful story that inspires me to want to be more like that, more ready to say yes the moment I’m asked. What if they had been more like me? What if they had wanted to ponder and plan first? What if they had said no? Oh, what they would have missed!
When they dropped their nets and followed Jesus, they didn’t know they would later see him transfigured before their eyes. They didn’t know they would hear the voice of God telling them, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Matthew 17:5). John had no idea he would find himself as the only disciple at the foot of the cross at Jesus’ crucifixion. He also didn’t know he would receive a revelation of future events that would become the culmination of the Bible as we know it.
Don’t miss it. When Jesus calls, the right answer is always yes. Your all-in, absolutely yes response can win other people over. Just ask my husband.
This was originally posted March 15, 2015 on The Press and Standard's website: