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A Blue Collar Invitation

Mark 1:16-18: “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 men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.”

Mark 1:16-18 offers readers 3 big lessons:

1) We do not initiate God, God initiates us.  Jesus is the one who saw Simon and Andrew.  Jesus is the one who called Simon and Andrew.  Jesus is the one who gave Simon and Andrew their task.  Ultimately, Jesus is the one who went to the cross to die for our sins when we were enemies of God.  We weren’t seeking after God, so God came seeking after us by sending Jesus to be our example and our substitute. It is through faith in what Jesus has done  that we can live for God. (Romans 3:9-26)

2) Jesus expects us to follow and obey him.  Notice that Jesus didn’t ask Simon, Andrew, James and John if they wanted to follow him, he called them to follow him.  It was a statement, not a question. Jesus was a Rabbi, a teacher of his day.  Most Jewish teachers chose the cream-of-the-crop, religious students to be their students.  Jesus chose some fisherman who were probably only fishing because they didn’t make the cut in their religious education.  These fisherman knew it was unusual for a man of Jesus stature to be calling to ordinary blue-collar guys like themselves.  They probably didn’t understand at the time, but they definitely didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity.

This is important for us because it means that we don’t have to have the high-paying job, the correct religious understanding or even a church background to be loved and chosen by God.  We can be ordinary, blue-collar people and God loves us the same.  The disciples didn’t have anything to offer Jesus, but Jesus had everything to offer them.  In the same way, we have nothing to offer Jesus and he needs nothing from us, but like the fisherman Jesus is offering himself to common, every-day people like you and I.  He chooses us based on the work he’s done, not on the work we do. He forgives our sin because of his death, not our discipline.  He sets us free to live for God by his resurrection, not our rule keeping.  He invites us to receive, not to achieve.

Likewise, throughout Scripture Jesus is revealed as Lord, God, King and Christ.  Colossians 1 tells us that he is the center of the universe and all things are held together in him.  Hebrews tells us that he upholds the universe with his powerful word.  Simply, Jesus rules over everything and everything is subject to him.  When he speaks the universe responds without hesitation.  When he calls us he expects the same.  The disciples didn’t know this truth at the time, but they definitelyfound out. And it was this truth that entirely reoriented the disciples life, just as it should reorient ours in much the same way.

3) Jesus calls us to the Father’s work. These four men were busy working when Jesus called them, but that didn’t stop Jesus from calling them.  Notice that Jesus didn’t call them to stop being fishermen, he simply called them to be a different kind of fishermen.  They were expected to follow Jesus as fishermen, but for a purpose that extended far beyond the money making venture of their trade.  They were called to catch men for God.  This is important for us in our daily lives as well.  The question is not whether or not you are a businesswoman, a teacher, a banker or a fisherman.  The question is what kind of businesswoman, teacher, banker or fisherman are you?  The point is that we are called to do the Father’s work of winning souls to God within the context of our daily lives.  We are to use our position to fulfill our purpose of bringing glory to God and people to Jesus. 

Question: How can you use your job to do God’s work?

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