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The God of Surprises

Today's Devotional

At once they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:20

The convention center darkened, and thousands of us university students bowed our heads as the speaker led us in a prayer of commitment. As he welcomed those to stand who felt called to serve in overseas missions, I could feel my friend Lynette leave her seat and knew she was promising to live and serve in the Philippines. Yet I felt no urge to stand. Seeing the needs in the United States, I wanted to share God’s love in my native land. But a decade later, I would make my home in Britain, seeking to serve God among the people He gave me as my neighbors. My ideas about how I would live my life changed when I realized that God invited me on an adventure different from what I had anticipated.

Jesus often surprised those He met, including the fishermen He called to follow Him. When Christ gave them a new mission to fish for people, Peter and Andrew left their nets “at once” and followed Him (Matthew 4:20), and James and John “immediately” left their boat (v. 22). They set off on this new adventure with Jesus, trusting Him yet not knowing where they were going.

God, of course, calls many people to serve Him right where they are! Whether staying or going, we can all look to Him expectantly to surprise us with wonderful experiences and opportunities to live for Him in ways we might never have dreamed possible.

How do you react when you hear stories of God at work? How has He surprised you?

Loving Jesus, You call people to follow You in unique and amazing ways. Teach me to discern Your voice and respond to Your call.


The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7) is often viewed as the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. While this was clearly His first major teaching block, His ministry had begun earlier. In Matthew 4, we read how Jesus preached about the imminence of the kingdom of heaven (v. 17), selected His first disciples (vv. 18–22), and performed His first public miracles (vv. 23–25).

Matthew’s recording of Jesus calling the first disciples is different from John’s account, leading some to believe that there were several callings and that John’s account was the first to occur. In the gospel of John, Christ’s first disciples were Andrew and, apparently, John, who’d been followers of John the Baptist (1:35–40). Andrew then brought Simon, Jesus sought out Philip, and Philip brought Nathanael (vv. 41–49). These were the disciples that witnessed the miracle at the wedding in Cana (2:1–12).

By |2023-09-08T02:33:19-04:00September 8th, 2023|
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