After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
Simon, Andrew, James, and John are so inspiring because of their willingness to drop everything that they have to follow Christ and proclaim the good news. They weren’t afraid to share the gospel with those who did not know or believe. They had confidence to walk with Christ!
God has called me in wonderful ways to share his message and preach to others, but it’s difficult for me to do this with confidence. I’m always afraid that people won’t understand what I’m saying or they won’t receive the message I’m trying to send. As hard as it is for me to share, I’ve still accepted the opportunities God has given me to speak with him, such as the time I gave a witness talk at freshman retreat this past semester.
I was excited of the idea of doing this, but I was hesitant at first. I wrote multiple outlines to figure out what I wanted to say and what the best way to present it would be. Even as I began sharing what I have learned about myself through the Bible on stage, I still wasn't sure if I was good enough for such an important task. Regardless of that fear, I accepted and let the Holy Spirit speak through me and fill the thoughts of the young girls. It's crazy to imagine that those men confidently went out to speak to others with no hesitation!
This reading helps me when I’m anxious about speaking to others, because the fishermen’s actions alone demonstrate the behavior and attitude we should have when working for God:
- never be afraid to speak out
When God calls us to go out and spread his word, we should not be afraid to do so. He is choosing us to speak through - we are his messengers, and it’s impossible for others to hear and know the truth if we don’t share it with them. What should we fear when we have God to give us strength and knowledge? One of my favorite verses is Romans 8:31 - “If God is for us, who can be against us.” Whenever we are scared or afraid, we need to take a step back and remember that God is always on our side. He believes in us and our ability to be the best version of ourselves. God is always rooting for us, all he asks in return is that we follow his guidance and speak out through words and actions so that we can share his love with others.
- be a light for others
We don’t realize how influential we actually are - there will always be someone that is either inspired by your words and actions or following your lead.
During the freshman retreat, my friend Sabrina gave a witness talk and spoke about her spiritual journey. As she was speaking, she mentioned me and how much I’ve impacted her through my compassion and positivity. It was an incredible feeling - I didn’t realize that my attitude towards God and the joy I shared with others could be so influential.
You never know how much of an impression you’ll make on someone. There are younger people all around you, looking up to you. Be a positive example to others so that you can show them how great it feels to be an example of God’s love.
- have confidence walking with Christ in all situations
Christ is your strength and you can do anything through him. He is your best friend who always has your back. Sometimes we doubt ourselves when people around us are louder about their opinions than us. THere’s a girl in my class who broadcasts her opinions so loudly that I sometimes find myself questioning my own beliefs. I always have to stop and remind myself of the reasons that I believe what I do. Do not let yourself be persuaded by the noise of the world around you. God has provided you with your own voice so that you might find confidence to speak out when he calls you too.
Shine bright for all to see and speak loud for all to hear. Always spread joy and love to others, and let others see how you live with Christ. The influence we have on others may be much more significant than we realize, and what we have to share is important