Hat and Cattle

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him. – Mark 1:9-20

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Backyard Hibiscus 2 | May 2020 | Cypress, Texas

I was teamed with my good friend, Jerry, making evangelism calls on fellow college students. We made the appointment, got to the place, were welcomed warmly, and began a good conversation. Jerry was leading the process. But I was not convinced that he was going anywhere with the conversation. I recall there being a awkward pause. Not exactly crickets, but I felt that the person we were visiting was wondering why we had come to visit. The conversation seemed aimless. So I jumped in.

“May I ask you a spiritual question?”

“Yeah. Sure. OK.”

“Have you come to the point in your spiritual life that if you were to die tonight you know for certain that you would go to heaven?”

And we got the conversation going. I don’t recall exactly how it ended up, but I do recall jumping in because I felt the need to move forward.

Such is my life. I am a move forward kind of guy. People consider me to be a leader. I love framing the question, having the first word (not necessarily the last word!), and…well, leading. It may not always be a good thing though. Sometimes discretion truly is the better part of valor. I may sometimes act or speak more out of my discomfort than a clear sense of direction and purpose. I may sometimes miss the roses along the way as I travel down the road of life to the next goal.

Jesus, on the other hand, always kept the end in view. He always sought to do those things that honored God and furthered the Father’s will. He was a perfect leader.

And, at least on this occasion, he lets no grass grow under his feet when the time comes to begin his public ministry. For 30 years he had been preparing for these days and the months that would follow. Now that he’s been baptized, faced down Satan, and announced that the time had come, he begins in earnest to gather his disciples. He calls Peter, Andrew, James and John. And they follow him.

Mark’s gospel is a gospel of action. Jesus is a man of action. Jesus is on the move. He has begun his ministry. He will gather other disciples. He will teach. He will heal. He will serve. He will save. He is not all talk and no walk. He is both. Hat and cattle. Talk and action. Sizzle and steak. Smile and kindness. Grace and truth.

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