Saturday, July 9, 2011
Leaving Boats and Nets
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee. Mark 1:14-28
I live surrounded by water. Many people I know have fished these waters, for fun and for a livelihood. Those who fish for a living now go out on massive vessels that are often gone for weeks at a time. The work is backbreaking and lonely. Those who fish for fun can spend hours on a jetty with a pole in hand, usually losing bait and tackle several times and rarely coming up with a sizable catch. Some times the blues or weakies are running and sometimes it's a good time for flounder. All of the time the challenges often outweigh the rewards.
The disciples dropped nets and climbed out of boats to follow Jesus. They left the hard life they knew intimately to follow someone who they didn't know on an adventure that they could not have foreseen or imagined. And yet they followed, dropping the familiar for a sacred promise. They gave it their all and in so doing taught us all a bit about being disciples. The work is hard, and often the rewards a small. And yet, walking with Jesus brought miracle and transformation, in themselves and in others all along the way. And following Jesus, no matter what we give up and leave behind, brings us miracle after miracle and transformations all along the way.
Today, I want to remember that whatever has been left behind is something left in order for ministry, healing and transformation to occur. God's activity is never to leave us without a way to go, or a full sense of promise and renewal. May we all follow, not worrying about what is left behind but clinging to the promise of miracle and transformation on the way.