I don’t know how young I was when I was first disobedient. I am sure that as a baby I showed signs of the disobedience to come – perhaps it was just turning my head away to refuse to eat the food on the spoon in front of me, or perhaps I just refused to do something that I had been told to do. But was that real disobedience, or was it just the case that I didn’t understand the words? As a toddler, I almost certainly refused to do something, even though I fully understood the words. But was that real disobedience, or was it just the case that I didn’t understand the rules? By the time I was at school, I understood both the language and the rules, and I know I was disobedient on many occasions, and punishment followed accordingly.
Teenage years and adulthood didn’t really change much – there were still occasions of disobedience of varying degrees. Sometimes I was caught, others I “got away with it” – and some came back to bite me later! Even in my recent years, when I should know better, the disobedience is still there – and I have three points on my driving licence to prove it! But I don’t think I am as bad as I used to be.
The trouble is, though, that it is perhaps too easy for me to judge how “good” I am by assessing how disobedient I’m not. As I pointed out in my post Tied Up In Nots, it is too easy to get distracted by only looking at one side of things. Perhaps I am not disobedient very often, but does that make me obedient?
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. (Matt 4:18-22, NIV)
What really strikes me or, to be more exact, hits me in the face about this passage is the suddenness of obedience. The “at once” and the “immediately”. There is no discussion, no pause, no packing up, no farewells. Jesus tells the four men to follow him, and they do. I get a picture of Jesus walking along the shore, turning his head and saying, “Follow me” without even pausing in his walk. He was in no doubt that they would follow, and they were in no doubt that they should. He expected obedience; they gave it.
How do I react to “Follow me”? Am I obedient and do it immediately, or am I disobedient by not being immediately obedient?
How about you?