Posts Tagged ‘Fishers of Men’

Let’s Go Fishin 1-25-15

This morning’s sermon is based on Mark 1:14-20. Jesus encounters and calls the first disciples, telling them to follow him and that he will make them fishers of men. This is a familiar story. Within it I look at the notion of Jesus calling us within our vocation, not to spite it.

You can listen to the audio of the sermon here:
https://soundcloud.com/revdalen/lets-go-fishin-1-25-15

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a bit of a pop culture nut. I love movies, music, tv shows, books…all kinds of that stuff…and while I’m a big fan of a lot of things that are current…I’m also partial to some older stuff too.
This has formed a bit of a trend for me lately as well…as I’ve been finding many different ways to binge on the pop culture type stuff that was popular in my younger years…my music apps have been flooded with 90’s pop and alternative music…I’ve taken to watching some of the cult classic movies from that same time period…and most recently, I’ve been using Netflix to binge watch a lot of tv shows from that time period…most recently Star Trek the Next Generation and the super popular sitcom Friends. (pause)
Now friends is truly a blast from the past…and as I’m only about midway through the first season which aired back in 1994…a lot of it seems very dated…big baggy clothes…big poufy hair…huge clunky phones…it is a very honest representation of the mid 90’s…but what the heck…I like it because watching helps me remember those younger days and makes me think about what I was up to when the show originally aired.
In short…all these different little aspects that serve as a blast from the past really get me thinking about my life about that time…when I was in high school and college. I think about the changes that I’ve gone through…the directions I’ve gone…and I realize that where I’m at today is about as far away from that scrawny little blond haired kid that was bopping around NW Iowa 20 years ago.
And a lot of those differences center around how I pass my time. Granted…as a typical high schooler I had quite a bit more free time than I often find myself with these days…and so I had to find different ways to fill it…and one of those things that I chose to do a lot of, particularly in the summer time, was fishing. I was an outdoor nut…I hunted in the fall, and I was always going fishing in the summer time…I’d connect with a friend or two and we’d head off to one of the local lakes and spend hours tossing a line in the water.
To be perfectly honest, I can even remember doing this before I was old enough to drive on my own. I think it served as a good way to keep a couple of us occupied, so our parents would load us up…making sure we had plenty of nightcrawlers, and drop us off at a specific spot where we’d spend the afternoon pulling in bullheads left and right.
In fact this love of hunting and fishing…the general love of the outdoors that I still hold…shaped me so much in those days that it influenced my expected career path and therefore, my focus of study during my first two years of college.
But in all my time spent at the lake shore…in all those fishing excursions…there was one thing that never happened…never once did one of the local preachers come walking up to me and my friend telling us to follow him. (pause) But in today’s story…that’s exactly what happens. (pause)
Now before we really dive into Mark’s story for today, its important to remember something. Mark, being the shortest of the gospels…and focusing on the good news of Jesus Christ…tends to gloss over a lot of detail…if you were here a couple weeks ago you likely remember me talking about that.
But right here, with only a few tidbits of info at the beginning of Mark, we hear the story of Jesus going around the region of Galilee, proclaiming the good news…and now we hear that he’s calling his first disciples. (pause)
What we don’t hear is the specifics of just what Jesus has really been up to in the lead up to today’s story…While Mark doesn’t give us much of anything to go on, we do know from some of the other Gospels that Jesus has been active prior to this moment…he didn’t go from the baptism straight to the shore of the Sea of Galilee to where these 4 fishermen were hanging out…he did some traveling first…he was laying the groundwork for the rest of his ministry…and we do actually get just a tiny hint of that in the opening verses today…as Mark tells us that Jesus came to Galilee and he was proclaiming the good news…and so, it is very likely that this random encounter with 4 fishermen was not the first exposure that any of them had with one another.
Galilee itself is a fairly small region…it measured about 25 x 50 miles…so figure it stretches from here to down around Glenwood, and then over about 10 miles past the far side of Omaha…not overly huge…and there wasn’t much out there either…a few towns spaced out every few miles…and not really a ton of activity…life revolved around each town, and specifically in Jewish life around the synagogue of each town…and if Jesus had been traveling from town to town preaching as it sounds like he was…then the 4 guys likely had heard him on some random Sabbath day.
Maybe they’d even had conversations prior to this moment…we don’t really know, but it stands to reason that all four of them would have had some idea of just who Jesus was on this day when we walked up to them on the seashore and invited them to follow him. (pause)
In all honesty…I kind of hope that this is the case…because we hear that immediately Peter and Andrew dropped their nets…then James and John leave their dad…and off they go.
And if this really is an immediate response to Jesus’ call as Mark says it is…then I really find myself wondering just what it was about Jesus that made them respond as they did…what was it about Jesus that made them apparently leave everything…as tradition tells us…to follow this guy around for the next three years. (pause)
Scripture tells us that there was nothing about him that was overly special…in fact Isaiah said that he had no form that we should look at him…and no beauty that we should desire him…sounds like a pretty normal looking guy, and yet his simple invitation to follow him results in just that…(long pause)…or does it? (pause)
As I mentioned a moment ago tradition tells us that the disciples left everything to follow Jesus…and certainly there are some instances in scripture that support this notion…but all we really hear in this case is that the guys left their nets, and the other two left their dad…but we also know that Peter still had a house…and he kept his boat because later in the story we hear about them.
So maybe…just maybe…when Jesus offered the invitation to follow me…it wasn’t so much the idea that they had drop everything…turn their back on their regular day to day lives and forsake everything as they trudged along behind him. (pause)
Maybe…Jesus was simply offering an invitation to become a simple follower…and the more I thought about that possibility the more it seemed to make sense. (pause) Think about the rest of his invitation, particularly to Peter and Andrew…follow me and I will make you fishers of men. (pause)
Weren’t they already fishermen? It stands to reason that they are…Mark even tells us they are…and it seems like Jesus isn’t asking them to give up their profession…he’s just tweaking the way they look at it. Hey fishermen…follow me and I’ll help you bring in people…not to sell or to eat…but people who will come to believe in the truth that I present to you and through you…that the kingdom has come near…so repent and believe the good news. (pause)
But what if they hadn’t been fishermen? Would the invitation be a little different? Perhaps…but I think the message would be the same…You farmers…follow me and I’ll help you harvest believers…You accountants, follow me together we’ll add up the numbers…Doctors and nurses, follow me and I will help you care for others…Stay at home parents, follow me and I will help you raise disciples. (pause)
It seems like Jesus was simply engaging these 4 guys in the midst of their regular day to day lives…and while we do hear that they chose to literally follow him around…perhaps what Jesus was saying to them on that day…and what he is saying to us now today, is that we are called to be followers of Christ in the midst of our regular day to day lives…something that we call our vocation…or that which we are called to do.
Because let’s face it…not everyone is called into professional ministry…in fact very few have that calling…but yet Jesus still invites each of us to be his follower…to learn from him…to learn about him…and to hear his message…to receive the good news that he provides that through his life death and resurrection the kingdom of God is here now…and as we engage with that good news in the midst of our day to day lives we also engage with those around us and hopefully…as we encounter them in the midst of our routine, Jesus helps us to catch them as well. (pause)
If we learn nothing else from the example in today’s story…its that Jesus is willing to use everyone…and he offers the same invitation to everyone regardless of who they are. Fishermen…guys who hang out with fish as much as possible…and if they guys on Deadliest Catch are to be believed…then fishermen are dirty, smelly, crude, and rude…and these are exactly who Jesus calls into fellowship…and not only into fellowship but into service for the kingdom…And if he calls a bunch of crazy fishermen, and in the end places one in charge who has the constant tendency to put his foot in his mouth…then maybe, just maybe he’s calling you too.
Not to drop everything and forsake everything and everyone in your life to follow him around the countryside…but to simply engage in the message that he brings…that God loves you enough to come to you…to meet you where you are…and to form a relationship with you.
That’s the net that Jesus gives to these 4 guys as they fish for people…the love of God embodied in the life of Christ…and you know what…he gives you the same tool…the same net…when he invites you to follow him…so what do you think? Anyone want to go fishin? Amen.