February is upon us, and believe it or not, the minds of many have already turned to the lakes. I remember as a young boy braving blustering cold in an attempt to catch the first crappies as they begin to feed. Now much older, I generally try to hold off until the water temperature gets into fifties. But as that mercury inches its way up the anticipation builds. It's still going to mean braving some chilly weather. The determination of Kentucky crappie fishermen is second of course to the heroic ice fishermen of the northern country. Its not for the faint hearted. Some might ask, "Why would you spend hours sitting in a boat in bone chilling cold?" While motives differ widely among fishers, for me it is the thrill of fishing, combined with the anticipation of the freshly cooked crappie fillet on my plate. No, I wouldn't die for it, but I'm willing to brave the elements. The strength of the motive, determines how much we are willing to sacrifice.
One time, Jesus was walking along the lake (Galilee) and he saw some fishermen, James, and John the sons of Zebedee, and Andrew and Simon (Peter). He said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." The amazing thing is that all four of them dropped what they were doing and followed Jesus. What we see in their example is of course their courage and obedience, but at the deeper level we see a measure of motivation. What they were willing walk away from, signifies the greatness of what they were walking into. What we are willing to sacrifice, demonstrates the significance of what motivates us.
Jesus came to us bringing light to our darkness, the good news of the kingdom. For those sitting in darkness and the shadow of death new light has dawned. What Jesus brought to us, perhaps more important than the miracles, healing, or fixing our problems, is motivation, a purpose for living. A purpose so great that Christians through out the centuries have been willing to suffer abuse, persecution, abandonment, even death to pursue. The purpose and meaning that Jesus brings to our lives, affords us joy in the midst of pain and suffering, and a willingness and determination to endure to the end. It is as it should be, for we are following in the footsteps, of the man who for the Joy set before him endured the cross. Come to Jesus. Let him show you what abundant life is.