Jonah 3:1-5, 10
1 Cor. 7:29-31
I recently heard a friend tell a story about a morning she spent cleaning fish that had been given to her family as a gift. She connected her experience to the gospel reading on Sunday January 25th by saying, “it would have taken little more than a head nod to leave that pile of fish and follow anyone, anywhere that morning!” I guess I hadn’t thought about the issues surrounding job satisfaction for Simon, Andrew, James and John when they followed Jesus.
I grew up in the Midwest where farming was first a vocation and then a job. The stewards of the land gave to us vegetables and produce, but more importantly they did it in such a way that the land would be replenished by the ways that the crops were rotated and fields were given time periodically to rest. This stewardship took account the financial needs of the farm family, but it was bigger than that.
I see these early disciples much like the farmers with whom I grew up. I think that Jesus saw in them more than young men involved in a livelihood, I think he saw men who saw their work as being stewards of the Sea of Galilee. This stewardship isn’t something that one learns in a morning of cleaning fish, but rather is a relationship between one whose passion sends them out fishing just to be able to smell the air and be surrounded by the water.
What kind of day was it that caught the attention of these young men to an itinerate preacher? Had they heard of the message of the John the Baptist? Had they heard of Jesus? I wonder what else Jesus had said or done that he could invite these compassionate men from the known to the unknown? I know that the gospel says, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
As I think about my call as a hospital chaplain I wonder what would move me to follow a new and different call to follow the message of Jesus. I am not looking for a change, but maybe that’s not the important part of the call. Maybe the important part of the Jesus call is to be open to being changed in the ordinary circumstances and in the here and now!
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”