Evangelist D. L. Moody was deeply affected by the observation of Henry Varley who said, “The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.” It is a challenging question. Yet it brings to mind an even more challenging one. What can God do with an ordinary person?
Few of us would say that we meet the criteria described by Varley. It’s not that we are unconsecrated to God. It’s just that we see ourselves as falling into the class of people that can best be described as “average.” We are not the brightest or the boldest. We do not stand out in a crowd. We’re just regular people.
According to today’s passage, we are just the sort of people that Jesus Christ seeks to be His followers. The first disciples that Jesus called were fishermen casting their nets into the lake. He did not go to the religious elite to select those who would become His apostles; He went to common men as they went about their daily business. This is often the context for God’s call. Moses and David were called to special service while guarding the flock (Ex. 3:1; 1 Sam. 16:11). Elisha was called while plowing his father’s field (1 Kings 19:19).
When the call to special service finally came, it brought with it the expectation of an immediate response. Simon, Andrew, James, and John all answered Christ’s call “without delay” (v. 20). They left their nets and their families behind in order to take up a new calling as “fishers of men” (v. 17). In each case obedience was costly. They abandoned their livelihood and may have faced family disapproval for taking up a more controversial and certainly less lucrative calling.
Later in his ministry Peter would remind Jesus of the sacrifices they had made and inquire about what they would gain in return. Jesus promised that anyone who has left goods or family behind for the sake of the kingdom of God will eventually receive a hundred times as much in addition to eternal life (Matt. 19:28–29; Mark 10:29–31).
Are you longing to do something “great” for God? In most cases the greatest thing we can do for God is the thing He has put in front of us to do. It might be doing your best on the job or serving your family with an attitude of joy. Serving God is a matter of daily obedience that is worked out in the home and on the job.
Remind yourself of your responsibility to consecrate yourself to God by copying Henry Varley’s quote and placing it where you will be able to see it as you go about your daily affairs.