A sixty-eight-year-old man in Florida and his twenty-four-year-old wife were looking through his photo albums three months after they got married. To her shock, she recognized one of her husband's children from his first marriage. That child was her estranged father, who expelled her from their house when she became pregnant as a teenager.
Her new husband was equally shocked. He explained that his first wife left him many years earlier, taking their children and moving to an undisclosed location. He was never able to find them. He eventually remarried but was divorced again. Years later, he met his current wife through a dating agency.
Though they were surprised to learn they are related, the couple vows to stay together. The wife explains: "Every couple is different and special in their own ways."
This is not the last story we'll read about unconventional marriages. According to Gallup, 123,000 same-sex weddings took place across the US in the year after the Supreme Court legalized such marriages. Organized movements are seeking to advance polygamy in our country. Zoophilia (sexual relations between people and animals) is becoming more accepted. It's easy to think that the culture is sliding into a moral abyss from which there is no return and for which there is no hope.
But it's always too soon to give up on God.
The world of Jesus' day was grossly immoral. From pagan idolatry to emperor worship to mystery cults and bestiality, sinfulness abounded. Then Jesus began the mightiest spiritual movement in human history. What our Lord did then, he can do today.
It started when he extended this invitation to two fishermen: "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). "Follow me" meant 24/7/365 commitment to Jesus as Lord and Master. "I will make you" is literally, "I will transform you into." "Fishers of men" describes men who "catch" men for Jesus, disciples who make disciples.
Here we learn two simple but profound truths.
One: If we follow Jesus fully, we must and will reach people for him. Evangelism and ministry are the inevitable results of true discipleship. If you're not fishing for men, you're not following Jesus.
Two: We cannot reach people unless we follow Jesus. He must "make" us into fishers of men. Human words cannot change human hearts. Only the Holy Spirit can transform human spirits. If you're not following Jesus, you cannot fish for people.
I wonder if our churches would make a greater impact on the culture if we made a greater commitment to Jesus. Would he say that you are following him fully, in every dimension of your life and every hour of your day? If not, why not?
Your loving Lord is ready to redeem your past, empower your present, and reward your future. He is ready to make you a spiritual fisherman whose life touches every life you know. You cannot imagine what the omnipotent King of the universe can do with a single life fully dedicated to him. But he can. That's why he led me to write these words and led you to read them.
Jesus' invitation to two fishermen twenty centuries ago is his invitation to you this moment. Will you accept?
For more on this critical subject, please see my latest website article, 10 words that changed the world.
Publication date: October 4, 2016
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
Do you want to live a life in whole-hearted pursuit of loving God and others?
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