Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church
Worship Focus for January 26
Rev. Hardy H. Kim, preaching

People often talk about how the nature of work and vocation has changed in recent decades. Long gone are the days when a person could get a job with one company—straight out of school—and then imagine themselves retiring from that same company at the end of their career, happy with their accomplishments and pension intact. I’m sure that many of you have experienced the changes that have eroded this happy vision of work and calling; that you’ve struggled to figure out what the right career moves and vocational decisions are for you.

In the story we will dig into on Sunday, we will meet two sets of brothers who were way ahead of their time. They left seemingly stable work without much promise of anything in return—just the chance to follow the one who was calling them. The story is strange enough that it’s worth spending some time reflecting on their decision and thinking about what might have made it worth it.

Who knows? You might find some inspiration for your own vocational journey in worship as well.

Theme for Sunday

Matthew’s portrayal of the obedience of these would-be followers is radical for at least three reasons. First, they ‘immediately’ follow him, seemingly with no qualifications or questions asked. Second, they leave their profession, a likely lucrative business of fishing, to walk after Jesus. There are no suggestions as to how they will be provided for, and there is no promise of ‘upward mobility.’ Finally, though not explicitly stated, their response is radical due to the fact that they also will leave their families. This call, put rather baldly by Matthew, is given unapologetically as being what Jesus demands.
 —Troy A. Miller, Feasting on the Word
Questions for Reflection
  • Why did you decide to take on the work you currently do (or that you did for most of your life), whether inside or outside the home? What, to you, is the point of your work?
  • Can you imagine anything that would have made you leave all that behind? What would it have been? Why didn’t you actually pursue it?
Matthew 4:12-23

Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” 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.