A Hello that Drops Everything
When Simon, Andrew, James and John, heard the call of Jesus they apparently dropped everything and followed him. They were all fisherman which meant for Simon and Andrew they dropped their nets and for James and John it meant leaving their Father in the boat by himself. Generally, speaking we view the disciples as some of the heroes in the Bible. We admire their ability to take a risk and leave everything behind. But if we were to take a step back from the story and ask how other people might respond to the actions of these fishermen, we might hear them say that the four of them were slackers or deadbeats. They were irresponsible, irrational, and insubordinate. Can you imagine what their parents and co-workers must have thought? How could they have just left the family business in a lurch?
One of my favorite scenes in the movie Forrest Gump reminds me of the disciples’ actions. Forrest Gump is coming back to the docks with his shrimp boat when he sees his friend, Lieutenant Dan, who he served with in Vietnam. Forrest is so excited to see his old friend that he immediately begins to wave a hand in greeting then jumps off the side of his boat to swim to the dock. As soon as he makes it, he crawls up out of the water and gives Lieutenant Dan a great big, wet hug. Lieutenant Dan says hi, then asks Forrest about his boat. He looks back and it is crashing into the side of another dock.
The scene is humorous because as the audience we cannot believe that Forrest would just drop everything and dive into the water to go and greet his friend. It seems ridiculous that he would just let the boat go. But as ridiculous as it seems the audience has grown to admire Forrest because even though he seems simple-minded we have come to appreciate his love and loyalty and how important relationships are in his life. Yes, it seems silly to drop everything just to greet an old friend, but how would it feel to have a friend like that? How would it feel to have someone who was so excited to see you that they dropped everything to run and give you a big hug? I know how it feels when my kids do this sometimes to me. It feels kind of amazing—like someone really loves you.
Maybe this is part of what is going on when the disciples leave the family business behind to follow Jesus. It could be that they were just so excited to see Jesus and so honored that he would invite them to join him that they were willing to drop everything to run and greet him. Maybe they had already met Jesus before he called them to follow and their hearts were growing in love for this new teacher who saw in them potential to be his followers. What if we responded to people with a similar kind of greeting? What if we demonstrated our love for the people in our lives by being willing to drop everything to be completely present with them for just a moment—to make them feel as if they were the most important people in our lives as we gave them a big hello? What would mean for them to know that we care so much about them? It would probably make them feel kind of amazing.