Matthew 4: 17-23
From that time Jesus began to proclaim, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people." Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.
Jesus is walking along the Sea of Galilee and calls to Peter and Andrew and James and John—all of whom were working. They were fishing. That was their job. Their livelihood. And Jesus invites them to follow.
And they all do. Willingly. Immediately.
It strikes me that Jesus does not call them to follow an idea. Or a program. Or a theological ideal. Or a moral high ground.
They are invited to follow a person. Jesus. Flesh and blood. No longer will they fish for tuna or walleye or red snapper. All the energy that they were putting into their nets, they are going to put into people. Flesh and blood. This is what they are being called into. This is what we are being called into.
What if all the energy that we put into our nets...we put into people.
Into building relationships.
Into growing things based on hope.
Into speaking hard truth in love and then sticking around long enough to see what that truth does.
Into radical forgiveness. For ourselves and for others.
Into inviting others along for the ride.
What if, we as a community---what if we got out of the boat?
What if, we dropped our fishing nets. What if we dropped whatever is holding us back? What if we said to one another that fear and death have no power over us and then lived as if its true. Because it is.
We have mad skills in our community. The gifts in this community are unlike any other community.
We made a list of what we have noticed about one another and ourselves. Things that we are good at--do well--claim as gifts, talents and abilities.
Showing the love of God
Thinking of others
Hearts for forgiving
Creating space for others
Including others (sometimes by means of a lasso)
We are being called out of the boat. To take some risks. To look ahead to the coming year and wonder how God might use this odd and amazing list of gifts. It's thrilling and scary and unpredictable.
Where do you think we might be of use? Where are we needed? And what might you add to this list?