Summary: A sermon about fishing for people.

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Mark 1:14-20

“A Job with No Pay”

By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN

Jesus was walking beside the Sea when He saw two men in a boat waiting for unsuspecting fish to wander into their nets.

And it’s amazing what happened next.

Jesus offered them a job with no pay, and they accepted.

Had the sales pitch been, “Come and make more money than you could ever make fishing,” then it might make a bit more sense.

But these fishermen drop what they are doing and head off to who-knows-where, to live lives they can’t imagine!

I have read that if you go to Galilee today they will show you a boat that could have belonged to Andrew and Peter, or perhaps the Zebedee family.

It is one of the most impressive archaeological finds anywhere in the Holy Land.

A boat was found sticking out of the mud one summer when the level of the Sea of Galilee dropped dramatically during a drought.

It was carefully lifted out of the sea bottom, cleaned and preserved.

Now, in a special exhibit, millions of visitors can see the kind of boat Jesus’ first followers used for fishing.

It has been carbon-dated to exactly the same period as Jesus’ life.

The boat is a vivid reminder of the day-to-day existence of Jesus’ followers—and of what it cost them to give it all up and follow Jesus.

They were, in today’s language, small business people, working as families…

…not for huge profits but to make enough to live on and maybe have a little left over.

There were lots of fish and there were lots of people to sell them to.

But it was hard work, and sometimes dangerous.

They had steady jobs, but they weren’t rich.

After Jesus called Simon and Andrew, “he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John.”

He called them as well, and “immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”

We have no idea how many generations the Zebedee family had been fishing in the Sea of Galilee, but it was probably a long time.

In that country and culture, as in a lot of other places to this day, a small family business can be handed on—not only through generations—but through centuries!

It’s safe and secure; people know what they are doing.

If times are hard, the usual answer is simply to work a bit harder.

But then along came Jesus from Nazareth Who beckoned James and John, and their neighbors Peter and Andrew to drop it all and follow Him.

And they did!!!

Why did they give it all up to follow a wandering preacher?

The disciples’ instant acceptance of Jesus’ invitation is about as dramatic as they come!

We might think that a reasonable response to Jesus’ command of “Follow me” would be “Where are you going?”

But the way it works out is that they don’t yet know the destination…it’s something they must learn along the way!

And this gives us a hint at the nature of faith that is at the heart of discipleship.

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