Careers: A Sermon by Vicar Mark Jennings
JANUARY 25th, 2015
Mark 1: 14-20
YAHWEH’s most perfect grace and peace to you, in the name of Jesus Christ who calls and chooses you and keeps you forever.
One of the things I have noticed that is changing or has changed in this great country we live in is careers.
What I mean by this is that it seems that people change careers these day faster than you can shake a stick at.
I remember back in the day that people seemed to find a career or job and they stuck with it, it seemed for their whole careers until they retired, even if they didn’t like it! My grandfather was a gardener for 45 years and my father in law was a teacher his whole career.
You got a job and stayed with it.
But now? That doesn’t seem to happen as much anymore. With corporations downsizing and the economy so fluid, these days you may have to choose another career whether you want to or not. It may be out of your control as outside influences seek to change what you think you want to do.
I speak from experience. If you would have said that I was going to be the pastor at OSLC to me 25 or 15 or 5 years ago I would have looked at you like a bull at a new gate! I didn’t want to work Sundays!
I was trying to climb the ladder as a professional artist and designer with the goal of my name up on the screen with a credit on the next Star Wars or Star Trek movie!
But God had other ideas and it’s just not me. There are guys in the SMP program who came from other backgrounds and careers also. One guy worked in the fashion industry and another owned his own beverage company. Another was a children’s book editor while another ran a very lucrative upholstery business.
My brother was a teacher before a pastor.
All these men giving up their careers to start a second career serving God in a new and unique capacity.
An outside influence affected these men just as an outside influence affected those men in our Gospel reading from Mark today.
These fishermen are doing what they do for a living, they are fishing and they are repairing their nets and probably the boats and whatever else it takes to be successful in their careers.
This is the career they have chosen and they had planned to do this til they retire.
Did they retire back then? Maybe move to Arizona or Miami? Did they have a 401k?
So here comes this rabbi who is proclaiming a message of repentance and a belief in some good news that the promises of God are happening right now!
They probably heard the rumblings and talk of this rabbi but then He sees them and makes like a laser beam to them where He says to them, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men!”
This is the outside influence that changes their career path.
What was their response? Did they look at him and say ohh kayyy and dismiss Him? No, They left their nets at once and followed Him. They repented of their sins and believed the Good News.
This all sounds like they had a choice and chose to accept Jesus.
But listen to what Jesus says in John 15:16 says,” You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
Of course, they could choose like Jonah tried to do in our OT reading and you saw how that worked out for him!
He became fish bait!
You could say that we have a choice to reject but really we have no choice as that is our standard human default mode. On our own we can’t accept Christ nor do we want to.
So an outside source made these fishers of….fish now start a second career and become fishers of …men!
This was Jesus calling them and choosing them just as He does to us. This was and is Jesus saying,” Consider a new career!”
“Come to me and I’ll do all the heavy lifting. I will make you a trade and a promise, my blood for yours!”
In this promise or covenant is repentance of sins that calls us and changes us and gives all of God’s people a second career, a new start.
Before this we were slaves to our jobs and if we are honest with ourselves, our jobs were sin and we were and are extremely proficient at it even making it our career.
Job and career are the same but different. You work at a job but a career is something usually planned and prepared for. It might include some kind of schooling and training.
Jesus calls these fishermen to leave their jobs and begin a new career with Him just as He does with you and i.
Leave your jobs of sin and begin a new career with our Savior.
Before this new career offer that you can’t refuse, we had settled in to retire in this life. We had no purpose and the products we made was the results of sin. We worked in the dark and on our own trying to control and run our lives and ways..
But the outside interference of Christ changes that.
You’ve been let go of your position and your services are no longer needed or wanted because you now are employed by the Sovereign King of the Universe who sends His Son to bleed and die for you.
The benefits are perfect and the retirement is top notch!
This repentance of sins is yours and it’s freeee!
This repentance of sins though is more than just saying your sorry for your actions, that is a result and response to what God has done and continues to do. If you look at the Law you realize that you can’t keep the Commandments in thought, word and deed. It really appears hopeless and that is when we hear the good news about the promises of Christ as the Law drives us to the cross.
It is a holistic change and what I mean is that it affects all of you not just a part or section of you but all of you. It is who you become through Christ calling you in baptism. You repent because the Holy Spirit comes to you and you, through the waters of baptism are cleansed and transformed. You have Breen changed and are able to start your second career in service to God through Christ. You are made new.
Remember how it feels when you start a new job? There may be a little apprehension but there is also the fact that you are starting over and starting fresh and new. You have that new car smell not the old fishing trawler smell.
I began the sermon talking about God calling men into a second career as pastors but this calling applies to the entire priesthood of all believers. You all have been called into second careers as you have been repented and transformed by divine love and you now through His work believe the good news.
The good news of Jesus Christ. The very Son of God who came to us and became one of us and died and rose for each one of us and everyone else so that all may live and begin anew!
So consider a new career or better yet, don’t consider or contemplate it, know it through the promises of Christ that you have been called to it and into it.
You have a new career, a second career and what does that mean?
The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few and there are lots and lots of fish to catch.
In your new career you get to fish! My kind of career!
But God has called us to fish for something different and work the harvest for something rather than corn or wheat or grapes.
Our work fishing and harvesting is the sharing of the Word.
Through Christ calling and choosing us which brings the repentance of sins, we can go out and proclaim this same repentance given to us to each other, to family, to friends and co-workers, to our neighborhoods, this neighborhood, to our cities and country.
As we follow Christ in our new and second career, people can see that by our acts of service in response, the repentance and transformation that can be theirs as our Lord calls to us, “Come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men!”
Consider a new career? Instead know that you have one through Christ choosing you like He chose those fishermen!