Summary: This is a fun sermon to preach! God’s call extends from the ordinary (apostles) to the extraordinary (Jonah). Many times God calls us through the subtlety of invitation as in this text. We are invited to go and do likewise.
Mark 1: 14-20
January 26, 2000
Paonia United Methodist Church
How many of you watch the news?
Have you seen the case being brought against McDonalds
That eating their food makes you fat?
Of course it does… that’s what makes it taste good.
Thankfully, that case was dismissed this week,
But still has the possibility of being retried in a federal court.
Its staggering even to my imagination…
And I have a pretty good imagination.
People can sue one another over just about anything.
This also carries over to what we say when we open our mouths.
Say the wrong thing, at the wrong time, to the wrong person,
and chances are, you can be sued.
Now, interestingly enough, because of this threat
Employers are very careful about what they put on a recommendation
When an employee leaves.
Therefore, a new tactic has been employed.
This new tactic is to assign mediocre and ambiguous praise
Leaving the reader the responsibility to read in between the lines
And decipher what is actually being said.
Someone has compiled a list of "intentionally ambiguous job recommendations."
First the recommendation and then the translation:
Recommendation: While he worked with us, he was given numerous citations.
Translation: He was arrested several times.
Recommendation: I most enthusiastically recommend this person with no
Translation: "This person HAS no qualifications whatsoever."
Recommendation: "I’m sorry we let him get away."
Translation: "We should have had him prosecuted."
Recommendation: Given the opportunity, I am certain that he will quickly
forge a name for himself within your company.
Translation: "Don’t leave any blank checks lying around."
Recommendation: All in all, I cannot recommend her too highly.
Translation: "In fact, I cannot recommend her at all."
With all the litigation in this day and age,
And people afraid to write the truth for fear of being sued,
It makes for a difficult time finding good help.
And that is what I want to talk about today.
What does it take to find good help these days.
Now last week, we heard about the calling of Samuel, Phillip, and Nathaniel.
We saw two very different extremes in God’s hiring process.
If you remember the calling of Samuel,
Samuel literally stood in the presence of God and heard him speak to him…
Very dramatic to say the least.
The came the call of Philip and Nathaniel.
Again, if you remember the story,
You will recall that the most memorable part of the story is its
Total lack of drama.
It was very low keyed and ordinary.
And, if you remember,
We learned that both calls were just as real and valid
Even if they were so completely and totally different.
Well today, we reenter God’s hiring process as we see two very different examples
Of God’s call.
1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me."
3 But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD .
4 Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. 6 The captain went to him and said, "How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish."
7 Then the sailors said to each other, "Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity." They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.
8 So they asked him, "Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?"
9 He answered, "I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD , the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land."
10 This terrified them and they asked, "What have you done?" (They knew he was running away from the LORD , because he had already told them so.)
11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, "What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?"
12 "Pick me up and throw me into the sea," he replied, "and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you."