Summary: The mission of “fishing” is at the heart of who we are and what we are called to be. During this sermon, we will discover our motivation for proclaiming is love for God and His kingdom. We will also see numerous ways to engage in this mission.
Scripture Text: Mark 1.14-20
I. The Nature of the Calling
In some ways, what we’re doing today is an extension of last Sunday’s message. The “word” for last week was calling... And you-remember that-when God calls, it’s an invitation-to-follow. And the point-of following-Jesus is leaving-the-old-way-of-life in order-to-find new-life in Him!
The “word” for this week is “proclaim”. And whether you know-it-or-not, …whether you’ve-realized-it-or-not, …all of Jesus’ followers are called to be proclaimers.
That may be intimidating to you; …there are times when it’s intimidating to me, too! But, before we jump-to-conclusions, as-far-as what-this-is all-about, …let’s take a closer-look at what it means to be a “proclaimer”.
First-of-all, the Bible uses all kinds of terms and word-pictures to get-at this business of proclaiming. Christians are to be “salt in the world”; …we’re also compared to “yeast worked throughout the dough”; …we’re told to let our light shine; …and we’re called representatives of the kingdom of God. In the passage that Kenny read earlier, …Jesus uses the vivid-word-picture of “fishers of men” to describe what His followers will do.
From-all-this we see that the nature of this calling is varied and textured and takes on different nuances. How one person fulfills the call to proclaim the kingdom-of-God, …will be different from how another person will-proclaim. It depends on how God has gifted you; …and the opportunities that God places you in. But, even-though the specific-ways in-which we proclaim the kingdom may vary, …the nature of-the-call to-proclaim is the same, across-the-board: …it’s all about Jesus: …telling others about Him;
…showing others the difference that He makes in our lives; …sharing His love-and-grace with others so that they can experience God’s life-and-love. It begins-and-ends with Jesus.
II. The Timing of the Calling
James and John were employed in a family business. Peter and Andrew probably were too, for-that-matter ~ …but nothing is said about their larger-families. With James and John, though, their father was with them when Jesus came by. Now, in-those-days, the family-business was a huge-deal. It was carried-on and passed-down through multiple-generations. James and John and their-father were probably the latest in a long-line of fishermen.
Each generation in-a-family learned a trade from the previous generation. They learned-it by working-together ~ Whether it was leather-working, …or blacksmithing, …or stone-cutting, …or fishing ~ …you learned your trade from your father and your grandfather. It would-have-been common for three generations to be working together, …fathers and sons and grandsons, …working side-by-side, …sweating-out a-living. The older-generation needed the youth and strength and energy of the younger-generation. The younger-generation needed the skill and wisdom and reputation of the older-generation.
By-the-way… does this not-sound a whole-lot-like the way the church should operate!?!... Each-generation has something to-bring to-the-table! We do much-harm when we cut-ourselves-off from one another; …or, when we don’t appreciation what the other generations have-to-offer! I know that we’re-naturally-drawn to people who are in a similar stage-in-life. But, we really-do-need each other… Those in the Spring-of-life can learn so-much from those who’ve already traveled-through that season. Those in the Autumn and Winter seasons-of-life need the youthful energy of those in the Spring and Summer stages. We really-do need-each-other!
I can’t-even imagine-how James and John’s dad reacted when they left the family business! And-yet… that’s-what James and John did! It’s not-like they were being rude or disrespectful toward their dad. It’s-not as-though they hated fishing and were ready to get-out, at the drop-of-a-hat! It’s-just-that, when Jesus said, “Come, follow me”, …something stirred within their heart; …something stirred-within their belly. And-they did… right-then, …right-there, …they followed Jesus. Dad was still in the boat when his boys up-and-left!... Are you imagining the scene!?!
Does anybody remember the nicknames that the James-and-John had? [“Sons of Thunder”]
Now… I’ve often-thought that their nickname was some-kind-of reference to their temperament. In-other-words ~ they were stormy, eruptive, loud, head-strong, maybe-even violent! But, maybe they inherited their nickname from their dad! Maybe called him “Thunder” because of his temper, …and his boys were called “Sons of Thunder” because they were followin’ in dad’s-footsteps! Maybe their dad not-only taught the boys how to cast-a-net and scale-a-fish and mend-a-net; …but-maybe he also taught them how to throw-a-fit, …rant-and-rave, …and boom like the thunder, so-that everyone ran-for-cover!
I don’t-know! But what-I-do-know is that they were called “Sons of Thunder” and that suggests a whole-lot-to-me! I also-know that when Jesus came by, …they left-it-all in-order-to follow Jesus ~ …even leaving their dad high-and-dry, in the boat! It must’ve-been quite-a-scene. It must’ve-been an awful shock! I wonder whether their father started shootin’-off fireworks as he watched his two boys leave the nets and follow some-stranger, off into the distance!
Well… all that may add drama and background, …but the-thing-about God’s calling is: it-comes, when-it-comes! Can come early. Can come late. Can come as an interruption. Can come as a clarification/course correction. Just-as when Jesus called James-and-John, Peter-and-Andrew, …the call He places on our lives ~ …the call to be fishers of men, …the call to proclaim the kingdom of heaven ~ …all this happens according to God’s timing. Whenever He happens by. Whenever He calls your name. Whenever He clarifies what He wants you to do. Whenever He taps on your shoulder and shows you an opportunity to share with someone else… It’s all according to His timing. We simply have to listen and respond!