Summary: How active are we in our search for the destiny which we are being called into? Simon, Andrew, James & John immediately followed their destiny.
Each of us has an ambition in our lives and we will spend a large amount of our time seeking it. Our target may be economical such that we will attain a welcoming comfortable lifestyle. We could possibly seek and be elected to a political office to fulfill a public service vocation. Or maybe our providence leans more to the spiritual realm. Now it may be possible to combine all three; we may become a wealthy preacher with high political aspirations. However for some reason politics and spirituality do not quite resonate well with me. Today I want to spend some time speaking to our spiritual potential.
Simon, Andrew, James and John were content to be fishermen. According to Luke’s gospel they were partners in the fishing business, "For he and all those with him were amazed at the catch of fish they took, and so were James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who were Simon’s partners." By our best guess they were moderately prosperous in their fishing endeavors. Mark tells us, James and John "left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed Him." Each set of brothers had their own boat, Jesus "saw two boats at the edge of the lake; the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, which belonged to Simon."
Just as these two sets of brothers were going about their daily lives we too will become content with where we are and what we are doing. Our jobs may not be the most satisfying, but it is what we have been doing for some time, we are comfortable with it, so we settle in for the long haul. We get up in the morning, get dressed, go to work, come home, play with the kids or dog, putter around the house, eat supper, watch some television or read, then go to bed; only to wake up the next day and repeat the routine.
Mary, being a young woman in Nazareth, would awaken, probably prepare the breakfast meal, do her chores during the day, and then possibly have an opportunity to visit with Joseph in the afternoon – chaperoned of course. Joseph, if still living at home would arise, eat breakfast and go into his carpenter shop for the rest of the day. Both of these young people were probably content with their lives; Joseph was working in an honorable trade, Mary was looking forward to the day they would marry and she would have her own home to care for. I know that may sound chauvinistic, but that was the way it was in those days. Did these two young folks realize the future which lay ahead of them?
Our lives are developed around the vocations we select for ourselves. Each of us spends considerable time perfecting our chosen professions, either for progression upward or to satisfy our inner need to excel in what we do. Even if we are not really satisfied with our job, we will still do our best at it. Sometimes, however, all these things change. Maybe the economy goes bad and our jobs are shipped offshore, health issues may cause us to have to change our vocations, or maybe we are driven away because of an undesirable atmosphere within the workplace.
I hope you have noticed I have not yet mentioned GOD’s plans for us. Too often we go about our daily routines, facing whatever travails may come along and do not even consider placing ourselves in GOD’s plans. Most of us spend our lives seeking our destiny, without ever considering what GOD would have us do. Simon, Andrew, James, and John were fishermen, successful, and willing to spend the rest of their lives combating the fickleness of the Sea of Galilee, the vagaries of the weather, or the uncertainty of a salable market for fish.
We might presume these four were active in their community and probably attended synagogue each Sabbath. We know, at least Simon was married, because later the disciples go to his house and Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law. One day a traveling Evangelist came into town; His reputation had preceded Him, so these four brothers decided to attend one of His tent meetings. "Jesus went to Galilee, preaching the Good News, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of GOD has come near. Repent and believe in the Good News!" Again we might suppose they were impressed with the teaching and preaching, yet that night they were back on the water fishing as normal. The only problem is they did not catch much of anything.
As they were on the shore the next morning, cleaning their nets, and getting ready to call it a day the traveling Evangelist came to the seashore and was immediately pressed upon by the crowd. He climbed aboard Simon’s boat and asked him to "put out a little from the land." From here Jesus began to teach the gathered crowds. Then very unexpectedly Jesus told Simon to "Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch." Simon and his crew were tired, yet he answered, "Master, we’ve worked hard all night long and caught nothing! But at Your Word, I’ll let down the nets." They caught so many fish, their nets were beginning to tear and they had to call their partners out to help them. Even then both the boats began to sink with the load of fish they had netted.