One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers – Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew – throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him.
Matthew 4:18-20 NLT
I am on the verge of retirement, not that I shall be retiring in any traditional way. As I look back, there is a vast distance between what I have achieved over my life and my childhood dreams. I was neither a professional academic nor an adventurer. I had not risen through the ranks of any well-meaning charitable organisation.
Like these two fishermen, I had heard and responded to Jesus’ invitation as a young man. I’d ventured into Christian ministry, which I’d enjoyed. I had taken a break to care for Katey, and after her death hadn’t the stomach for the professional Christian world I’d left.
The term “navel gazer” comes from those Desert Fathers who adopted a practice of bowing their heads to avoid distraction while earnestly seeking God. Their thoughts were not directed to their own circumstances. Rather, they recognised the value of discerning God in everything and everyone. I sense my navel-gazing has focused far too much upon my own need of recognition, acceptance or wealth creation. I have failed to abandon my nets like those fishermen who followed Jesus. I wanted the benefits of kingdom life as well as to hold on to my nets. God wants my total attention. I assume that conflict will rage within me until the day I die, yet I am increasingly determined to settle for discipleship ahead of my cherished dreams, despite the pain and insecurity that it brings.
Have you realised any of your childhood dreams?
Help me today in my walk of faith to keep following you; through the mountaintop and the valley, be my guide and companion.