The following devotion comes from the latest Mockingbird publication, An Easy Stroll Through a Short Gospel: Meditations on Mark, by Larry Parsley (who will also be our chaplain at the upcoming Mockingbird conference in NYC)! 

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” (Mark 1:17)

So here’s the way it worked, on my playground at least. Two older and very athletic boys would select themselves as team captains. And then they would have a draft for the best available basketball players around. The tallest and quickest and most agile would go first, in rapid succession. And then, the agonizing choices. Who would they have to take now among these leftovers? The captains would practically hold their noses as players nine and ten were selected. And if you were number eleven? You can watch if you want, but you cannot play.

In this passage, there is only one captain. And his choice of four brothers is not based on their ability. As the rest of the book will show, Peter can be hotheaded and feckless, and those Zebedee brothers will have delusions of grandeur completely out of step with their humble Master and His mission. But the captain is not choosing them based on their qualifications, but rather upon his qualification. He knows where he is going, he knows what he wants to do, and he does not want to have all that fun of “fishing for people” (really, rescuing people) all by himself. Come, follow me.

Two brothers leave businesses and equipment and, in the case of James and John, a father and a boat with “Zebedee and Sons” painted across the bow. It is a first lesson that in Jesus’ kingdom, the grace we gain will always dwarf the good things we lose in the process. It is the first time that brothers from different mothers will discover what it means to truly become a gospel band of brothers.

And what about you, Number Eleven (if I may so indelicately put it)? He is walking straight in your direction today. As far as you know, you’re his first-round draft pick. “I choose you.”

Jesus, your choice of me overshadows life’s rejections.