Imagine for a minute that you dream of becoming a professional football player, a cardiovascular surgeon, or a day trader on Wall Street. You really want to work in one of those professions. But you have a small problem, you’ve never picked up a football in your life, you don’t like the sight of blood, and you think the terms “bull” and “bear” are references to animals in the zoo not trends in stock prices. Realistically, before you can play in the NFL, operate on damaged hearts, or work on Wall Street, you typically need training, experience and a certain set of skills. Or maybe you want to be a school teacher, a newspaper journalist, or an accountant. Those professions also need proper skills before you can get hired. Most things we do today require those dreaded words, “Experience Required.” Most employers today are looking for people with certain skills and they want you to have those skills before they hire you. Even hobbies take work to learn them properly. Most of us do not just pick up a paintbrush or a guitar and instantly create masterpieces or beautiful music. You first need to take lessons, hang around skilled artists or musicians, and practice, practice, and keep on practicing.
Before we continue, let us be clear what we are not saying. We are not saying that you shouldn’t dream big dreams and reach for the stars. We are not saying that you should not try new things. We are not saying that you shouldn’t work hard in both the things you do today and the things you want to do in the future.
What we are saying is that most things we do in life, if we are to advance in them, require education, training, experience, practice, and basically lots of blood, sweat and tears. The department manager at your workplace did not become the boss the day after they graduated from high school or college. No, they hopefully worked their way up the ladder. The starting quarterback for your favorite NFL team wasn’t just handed the football, they had to earn their first team status.
Contrary to the “experience needed” adage, Jesus steps in and says to us, “no experience needed, just follow Me.” You are probably thinking, “That’s it? Follow Me.” And Jesus says, “Yes, that is all that is required.” Here is what we see in Scripture as to the exchange between Jesus and a tax collector, whom He was about to call to be His disciple. In Matthew 9:9 we read this, As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me”, he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. We see a similar story in Matthew 4:18-20 in which Jesus calls his first disciples, Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John. These four men were fishermen, with no training or experience in being “disciples” of Jesus. As He did with Matthew, Jesus simply said “Come, follow me.”
Jesus is calling all of us to be His disciples. He does not say we need training and experience or that we need to get our lives straightened out first. He simply says, “Come, follow me.” In the process of following Jesus, He will clean us up and train us up. In the process of following Jesus, we will become more like Jesus. And in the process of following Jesus, He will equip us to do His work. When He called the fisherman to come and follow Him, he also said this in Mt 4:19, “And I will send you out to fish for people.” The text does not say that these four fishermen took several days to ponder Jesus’ offer. No, instead, in Mt 4:20 we read this, At once they left their nets and followed him. And verse 22 says, And immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Whereas the world most often calls the equipped, Jesus turns that upside down and equips the called.” When Jesus calls you to something, He is looking for one thing – obedience. He is looking for someone who will say, “Here I am. Send me!” (Read Isaiah 6:1-8.)
Have you responded to Jesus’ invitation to “Come, follow me!”