Charles Thomas Studd (1860-1931) was a brilliant cricketer as a young man who became a missionary for most of his adult life. Studd was born into a wealthy family.
A serious illness of one of Studd's brothers had awakened him to what was truly of lasting value. Studd gave up his wealth and a career as a professional athlete in order to go to several foreign countries and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our verse today describes some business partners Peter, James and John who gave up their fishing business in order to follow Jesus. However, the Lord does not call all of us to renounce wealth or living in our own culture to go off and be missionaries elsewhere. Many of the followers of Jesus live out their lives in the same context into which they were born and are obedient to the Lord in doing so.
Yet there are enough people called by the Lord to give up everything to follow Him that we see a guiding principle for all of us to live by. Everyone who comes to Jesus is required to live in full obedience regardless of what the Lord might tell them to sacrifice for His sake.
For example, I know of a fine young Christian couple who were called by the Lord to move into the inner city in a high crime neighbourhood in order to witness to that community and seek to alleviate suffering among the poor. These two people had grown up in relative comfort in the suburbs where there was little crime or poverty. It was a sacrifice for them to raise their children in such an environment when they could afford another district to raise their children.
Another person of my acquaintance was steadily progressing in responsibility in his firm. He was close to a possible presidency of the company but asked the directors to appoint him to a position back down the corporate ladder. This was so that he would do less travelling and have more time at home with his growing family.
Leaving all to follow Jesus can take many forms. What we must be certain of is that Jesus is worth any sacrifice in order to walk with Him. We must approach our discipleship with Jesus with a willingness to give up anything this world offers in order to maintain our relationship with Him.
Jesus said that any person who does not consider Him worth more than the best this life offers is not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:38). Are you worthy of following Jesus? Are there things or people you would rather have than Jesus if it came to an either/or situation? Most of us are not called to make such difficult choices but if the time came for just such a choice we must be fully ready and completely willing to make the choice in favour of Jesus.