Today I began reading the Book of Mark. While reading the first two chapters, I was struck by something. Simon (Peter), Andrew, James, John and Levi (Matthew) were busy at their jobs when Jesus said, "Follow me." The normal and perhaps even reasonable-sounding response would have been to say something like, "I get off at 5:00. Come back then and I will follow you." These men did not do the normal, reasonable-sounding thing. They did the right thing. They immediately dropped what they were doing and followed Jesus and they continued to follow Him for the rest of their lives.
There was a cost to follow Jesus. There always is. Tradition holds that all of these men except the Apostle John died a martyr's death and even he suffered persecution and exile.
They didn't have to follow Jesus. They chose to follow Jesus and when they did, they were, as my pastor would say, "all in". People who give excuses as to why they can't follow now or why they can't follow Jesus there aren't "all in".
Yes, these men gave up everything and suffered for the choice they made and yet I cannot help but think about what they got in return. For three and a half years they physically walked with Jesus. They sat at His feet. They ate with Him, they traveled with Him and they lodged with Him. He taught them like He taught no one else. They had front row seats when Jesus performed miracles and they saw miracles that were exclusively meant for their eyes only.
They saw the Resurrected Lord, they heard the Great Commission from Jesus' own lips and they saw Him ascend into Heaven with their own eyes. They truly lived a life they would not have lived had they remained in the boat or collecting taxes.
When Jesus says, "Follow me", do we get up immediately and do so or are we content with staying behind?