Called to serve

Called to serve

Mark 1:14-20

He calls us to service in His name and to bring other people into that service.

In the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen, please sit.

You know what’s really interesting about this gospel and the way that Jesus called his disciples to him is, is the way he goes about it. So other teachers other rabbis of the time did not call disciples to them. They set themselves up and people went and listened to what they were saying. And if they agreed with them, if they went to the synagogue and heard this teacher, they would then follow that teacher.

They would become disciples of that teacher. That was very much the model of of gathering disciples, of gathering followers. People would listen. They would think they would reason and then they would decide to follow. But Jesus does something different. Jesus comes and asks people to follow him. So last week, we talked about Jesus turning to the disciples on the road and saying, what do you want for Jesus issues as an invitation. God comes to us and asks us to follow him.

And so then we look at who Jesus called to him, who were the people that Jesus called as his disciples? Well, as we all know, Jesus went around to find the most important people, the most influential people, the richest people. Oh no, I’ve got that wrong haven’t I, Jesus didn’t do that. Jesus called straightforward, normal, everyday people to follow him. He didn’t try to find influence as he did in trying to find money.

He didn’t try to find political nous. He wasn’t clever about that, if you like. He wasn’t sneaky. He wasn’t political in that way. He just asked ordinary people to follow him and he asked people who were doing their everyday work. He asked fisherman who were about their work. They were casting their nets. And this is how Jesus continues to call us today. He calls us in our every day life. He calls us to follow him when we’re doing the shopping in Iceland.

He calls us to follow him when we sat at our computer on yet another video conference. He calls us to follow him. As we are loading the washing machine, Jesus calls us in our everyday life.

And as much as we hope that we hear the word of God when we come to church, Jesus most often speaks to us when we are engaged in our everyday work. And so then how does he call us? How does Jesus call us to him? What’s the model of Jesus calling us to him when he calls us with love and not with reason. So just as Jesus, unlike the other rabbis of his time, didn’t argue people into following him, didn’t give them a list of reasons where, you know, if you do this, this, this, this and this, then you can follow me that philosophical view Jesus called the disciples to follow him through love.

Follow me, I will love you, you will know the greatest love there has ever been, and that is how Jesus continues to call us today through love, through grace, through hope. And then and maybe only then may we start to go through the reasons we may start to apply our analytical thinking to it. But Jesus calls us from deep within us to follow him. I always say that every single one of us has that spark of God within us, even even people who are not Christian, the people walking up and down the street, the 99 percent of people who do not know who we are here in Hayes have God within them that spark within them.

And Jesus calls to that spark Jesus calls to God inside somebody in a visceral and a moving and an emotional way, and he pulls them to follow him. And so then once you’ve done that, once you have followed Jesus, what does he ask you to do? What does he offer the disciples who are on one hand giving up absolutely everything to follow Jesus? And what does Jesus continue to ask us to do today when he gives the disciples a task following Jesus comes with a task?

Repent. And preach the good news. This is the task that Jesus sets them follow me and I will make you into fishers of men. The disciples are given something to do and it is no different today. When Jesus calls us, he gives us a task to become fishers of men, to repent and to preach the good news. There’s no difference two thousand years later in what Jesus expects of us when he calls us. He doesn’t call us to elevate us.

He doesn’t call us to make us special. He doesn’t call us to make us rich and influential. He calls us to service. He calls us to serve the world, to serve one another in his name, in love. And he calls us to bring other people to that love. He calls us to do it through the food bank. He calls us to do it through being together on a Sunday morning. However, we are together. He calls us to do it through smiling at one another and giving each other encouragement in dark times.

He calls us to service in his name and to bring other people into that service. He doesn’t call to give us everything that we’ve ever wanted in this worldly life. He calls to give us everything that we’ve ever wanted in an eternal life, and we only receive that gift if we empty ourselves. If we empty ourselves of everything that we are invite Jesus in to completely fill us, to give ourselves in our entirety so that we become like Jesus in his service of the world.

That’s the gift. The Jesus offers us when he calls us. We’re no different to those disciples all that time ago. We are ordinary people about our daily tasks who are called to the love of Jesus Christ and are now asked by him to go out into the world in his name and in his service to bring others to that love. Amen.