Christopher B. Harbin
Psalm 27:1,5-6; Isaiah 9:1-4; Matt. 4:12-23; 1 Cor. 1:10-18
My parents would get together with other missionaries to play dominoes on occasion. Normally it was a game called "42". Similar to card games like spades or Rook, the tiles were passed out, bids were made as to how many points one could make, and the highest bidder called "trumps," whether a number or doubles. On occasion, the winner of the bid would say, "Follow Me". On such a round, there would be no trump suit. The highest numbered tile would win each hand in the round. It was always a bit of mystery, as that was not the way most hands were played. We often like things on a little more comfortable keel. When Jesus called the disciples, he used the same open-ended words, "Follow me." Are we up to accepting the risk of such an open-ended invitation to discipleship?
Last week's reading gave no indication that following Jesus cost Andrew anything. John failed to mention that Andrew actually had a job. He just spoke of Andrew as one of the Baptist's disciples--to our eyes as though that were somehow gainful employment. At least upon John's imprisonment, his disciples had to go back to earning a living in some other way.
When Jesus came by, Andrew was busy with the nets. Fishing was no leisure activity for a day off. It was a rough task established to put food on the table and out to market. No fly rods and artificial bait, diesel engines, or motors to haul in nets of catch. Fishing could turn a profit, but it was hard, physical labor.
There was no mending to do on the nets at the moment. The boat had been checked and prepared for its next trip out. It was not time to set out with the boats into the Sea of Galilee, but there was time to throw out the circular nets to add something to the day's catch. Busy at work, Andrew cast and hauled on the net, working to bring in something more for food, sale, and meeting the needs of family and coworkers.
Casting once or twice was no great task. It took skill, but it was the repetition that was so taxing. Andrew was seasoned to the work, tinted by the sun, weathered by the wind, and hardened with the physical exertion of casting, hauling, and working with the fishing gear. Some days the effort paid off well. Other days there was little to show for much exertion.
Near the end of the day, Andrew was tired. Even so, his work was not done. Tired muscles, aching feet, and hands feeling the effects of rough treatment, he kept at it. They would not take the boat out again today, but there must still be food for hungry mouths. He cast his net, pulled it in, emptied it, and prepared to cast again. This time, he was the one caught. Jesus came along and cast his own net. He called Andrew away from all his physical toil, calling him to a different kind of fishing.
Ignoring the time-honored traditions of the day, Jesus proclaimed himself a rabbi worthy of a following of disciples ...
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