February 1, 2012
“As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea — for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him.” (Mark 1:16-18)
Follow me to lead others. That’s how I summarize Jesus’ view. As church people we’re
called to be both followers and leaders. We take our guidance from the Lord of Life and we, too, become disciples. But living as a disciple means a special way of life, defined by Jesus when he said, “I will make you fishers of men.” Being a disciple means, in large part, leading others to a life in Christ.
How are we to lead others best? My view is that the church can best lead when it is healthy — when its mission brings wholeness to others, when its programs offer enlightenment and spiritual refreshment, when its faith is vibrant, and when its people are joyful, caring, welcoming, and giving.
Stewardship is that activity we undertake to ensure that the church is healthy. It’s about
marshalling all of our resources — our time, talent, treasure — to faithfully live out the purposes we believe God has for us through the mission and ministry we take on together. Most interesting to me is that, when we do this, it has the practical effect of making us a more vital community of faith.
Jesus calls each of us to be disciples, thus leaders. We lead best when our resources are
employed most effectively. A few weeks from now, a preliminary church budget will be unveiled, our annual stewardship campaign will begin, and invitations to join committees will go out. You’ll have the opportunity to make some concrete decisions about how you will live out your life of discipleship.
I encourage you to do some thinking now. Inventory your gifts and skills, asking how these
might serve others and recalling how Jesus used the disciples’ fishing skills in unexpected ways. Consider volunteering for programs and outreach efforts, remembering that, at times, the disciples had to abandon their nets to follow. Think about what your church means to you so you can make a faithful annual pledge, recalling that our loving God makes the pulling in of full nets a possibility. Though our answers will differ, we all have the dual challenge of faithful discipleship and stewardship.
How are we best to lead others? By recalling all the things with which we have been blessed and by offering up a portion of them to our loving God. We do this in many ways. But it is through this unique organization — the church — that we are given the opportunity to work together as fellow disciples to usher in God’s realm of love. So, grab a net, jump in the boat, share your angling techniques and fish stories with your mates, feel good about your haul, and enjoy the ride!