Let’s pause and think about this for a moment. Immediately they left everything and followed him. This means they left their jobs. Soon they left their families and hometown. They left their known past and imagined future. For what? Surprising words and unexpected adventures with no Olympian guarantees.
People did not always respond to Jesus this way. Later, Jesus invited a rich young man to sell his possessions and join him (Matthew 19:16-22). Unlike Peter and Andrew, this man declined the invitation. Instead he went away sad. He had expected to add Jesus to his old way of living and make it complete. He hadn’t expected Jesus to ask him to abandon that old way completely.
What then? If we decide one day to abandon everything and walk with Jesus, is that a decision, like getting baptized, that we need to make only once?
No. If we are following Jesus, the savior who always comes to us but then asks us to go with him, then we must decide daily to do so.
Jesus tells us so in his parable of the sower (Luke 8:4-15). As Jesus explains it, we might respond to his first invitation with great enthusiasm but, having no root, soon abandon him for our old familiar Olympian way of living. Worse, we might know his word is truth but at the same time cling to our old worries and securities.
Jesus discourages this. He tells us, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
The consequences of looking back might remind us of Lot’s wife. Lot was the nephew of Abraham and lived in the city of Sodom. When Yahweh decided to destroy Sodom, he first rescued Lot and his family. But as they were fleeing Sodom, Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26).
So it’s not enough to make a good start with Jesus. We need to stay with him. Doing so is a daily decision. Each day everything is on the line once again. Each day always involves hearing and affirming his words as he seeks to free us anew from our attachment to all that hinders our continued walk with him.
"But the one who endures to the end will be saved" (Matthew 24:13).