Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men

Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men

“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Matthew 4:19-22 is absolutely fascinating to me: 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them.22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Does anything here stick out to you? “IMMEDIATELY they left their nets”, “IMMEDIATELY they left the boat AND THEIR FATHER!” Absolutely amazing! If some stranger came up to me when I was at work, and said something like “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” I would probably call security and have a good laugh with my friends, I would definitely not IMMEDIATELY quit my job and tell my Father that I’ll catch him later! Or would I?

Have you ever been called to do something more with your life? Do you represent Jesus well in your workplace? If someone were to find out that you were a believer, would they be surprised? These are all questions that I had in my head the last few years. This is the genesis of God’s new calling in my life.

God nudges once…

It all started when I was at work one evening on the graveyard shift and one of my co-workers asked me a group of questions almost every Christian would just start salivating over, “Do you think there is anything more to life? Do you think there is a Heaven or Hell? I’m really trying to figure out if God actually exists?”

I thought to myself, “this is the perfect opportunity to share what I believe with my co-worker. These kinds of questions don’t come up every day so don’t blow it!” I began by asking him what made him start thinking about these things and what does he currently believe, then I told him that I believe in God, and I go to church regularly and “I am a Christian.” Then he said something that really started to get me to think… He said “you’re a Christian! I would have never guessed!”

This really got me contemplating what I was doing that made him think otherwise? I didn’t go around the office using profane language, I did my job well, I was kind to others, I respected people, I treated others the way I wanted to be treated, so why was it such a shock that I was a Christian? Then I thought to myself… This is not the first time this has happened to me… This is not even the second time this has happened to me, this has happened more than I feel comfortable with and I am just now starting to realize that this is NOT a good thing.

God nudges twice…

It has been about a year since my co-worker and I had our conversation, and things at work have changed dramatically since then. Managers have come and go, co-workers have come and go, our department is no longer very enjoyable to work in. People are bitter and angry and show it every day. At one point, during a meeting with over 50 people in attendance, when a question was asked about motivation, someone yelled out “Why should I work any harder, you can’t fire me, and there is no incentive!” Yes, someone actually said those words in a meeting full of Managers and Directors! I was taken aback by the comment since I was always raised to be respectful and always work hard no matter the circumstance (shout out to you Mom and Dad! Thanks for raising me right!). Needless to say, there was no joy left at work and it was leaving me very depressed and unmotivated.

During this time, I was lucky enough to go on the yearly pastors retreat in Leavenworth, WA with my wife (the pastor) where all the Nazarene pastors and families from the Washington Pacific District get together and just relax and enjoy themselves in the beautiful Bavarian-styled village in the Cascade Mountains. I love Leavenworth, it is absolutely beautiful, I love the food and the shops and the people! I remember thinking to myself, there is so much joy here among fellow believers, there is so much love, you can feel God’s presence!

After a wonderful couple of days on the retreat, it was back to work, and back to depression. For the next couple of weeks, while I was at work, all I could think about was how much joy and love was at the retreat and how much pain and sorrow was at work. I slowly started to fall into the trap and complaining and not caring about my job just like all my co-workers. I started to get sucked into the bad work ethic and I was not liking what was happening. This is not who I am, this is definitely not who I want to be. I started thinking to myself, there has to be something more, there has to be something else for me. Is this really where you want me to be Lord? Where is all the joy and love with my co-workers?

God calls and I finally answer…

Everybody that follows my blog knows the origins of Little Prayer Tea Co and how it began, but if you need a refresher or need to get caught up, you can check out my first blog post, Give, Pray and Drink Tea. All caught up? Ok, great, let’s get moving.

IMMEDIATELY they left their nets and followed him.” I always wonder if there was anything more said. Did Jesus just go up to Simon, Andrew, James, and John and just say, “follow me” and they followed, or did the writers omit a few details? Did they cook fish over a fire and sit and talk with Jesus first? Did they have any other conversation which would have persuaded them to just leave with Jesus? Did Jesus tell them the Romans were looking for them and if they didn’t follow him then he would tell them where they were? Lol, just kidding on the last one :). It just seems crazy to me that they just left everything behind so quickly. I can understand over even a few hours of conversation, but immediately!

A couple of months ago, I was strategically planning my exit from the City of Seattle to become a full-time business owner. I was really excited and really nervous. I had it all planned out. I was going to work until Dec 3rd so I could collect on all of the holiday pay during the month of November and save up some money and plan my exit. I was definitely not leaving immediately. I had it all figured out… until I didn’t. I was so nervous about leaving, about the security, about the benefits, about everything. This was a big leap for someone like me who has always had a steady job and a steady income. I kept changing my plan, kept thinking, and thinking, and thinking way too much. I was all over the place and it was having a real effect on me and my home life.

Then God called.

One day when I was at work and I was doing my regular worrying about leaving my steady job, I heard my answer. I was praying, asking God what I should do, when I should leave the city, will we have enough money? Then he said two words to me… Trust Me.

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” Psalm 20:7

So what did I do next? I put in my two weeks notice the very next day.

That was 10/1/18 and it is currently 10/29/18 and I am so happy I trusted in Him. The most amazing thing has happened since I let go of my control and trusted in the Lord. Orders for Little Prayer Tea Co have been flooding in! I am having a hard time keeping up! I actually ran out of tea the first week after I quit my job! Little Prayer Tea is now being sold in 16 different states across the country and most of all, I have found joy again! I am so happy to be spending time with my little girl Thea and with my beautiful wife Regina and not having to worry because I know that God will always have my back:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25-27

Whether or not Little Prayer Tea Co continues to grow, I will always trust in the Lord. I may not have left immediately, but better late than never.

Sincerely,
Ryan Conlon
Employee of Jesus Christ

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