5 Once while Jesus[a] was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2 he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” 11 When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
According to Homileticsonline.com “A side hustle is what we used to call a side business, or even a part-time job. The difference between a side hustle and part-time job is that a side hustle allows you to work from the comfort of your queen bed. No need to set the alarm clock, jump in the shower and head off to a part-time job at Walmart. You can tap on your tablet, take a bite of scone with clotted Devonshire cream on it, wash it down with a sip of Earl Grey or a tall, non-fat latte with caramel drizzle and then bark out orders and instructions to team members flung around the globe and then check your bank balances.
All this before you report to work at your day job — if you have a day job. More likely, your income is derived from several sources. You are not tethered to a desk.”
There are so many young kids that have a hard time making ends meet. Depending on what report you read the young kids coming out of college have amassed a debt of $3 trillion. Which is not all that surprising when the average cost of school is $10 grand for in state and $20 grand for out of state tuition per semester. There are very few jobs in which a fresh out of college kid can make enough to live and pay student loans. They need a side hustle and when you can do it from home it saves you more money. I am amazed at the number of kids that went to school with my kids when you see their social media pages, they have a little side gig selling clothes, cosmetics, etc. It is the modern-day Avon and Tupperware. It is not the kids fault and it is not their lack of money skills—it’s a cold hard reality. The American dream is becoming harder and harder to realize for our kids and grandkids.
It got me to thinking about all the side jobs or part-time jobs I have had in my life. Being a teacher there was always an opportunity in the summer time to work a little and occasionally I did while I was teaching. I know that is not unusual to any of you who are teachers. I have had some mild jobs like mowing lawns and landscaping which meant a lot of digging and laying of sod. I have also had some crazy ones like on year I worked on an oil rig before all the technology and we still threw chain and tripped out a hole with somebody in the birds’ nest. I spent another summer working as a roofer—that was probably the worst job I ever had. The pay was lousy, and you know how much I like heights.
A little over 20 years ago I took on another side job called the ministry. Today it is my full-time job. But when I started at Rankin it was truly a side job. I taught during the week and prepared my sermons and bulletins in the evening or on the weekends. My Sundays was often spent making visits to the nursing homes or shut-ins after church. That was much like the scripture lessons for today. Peter and by extension James and John were fisherman that ended up on the Sea of Galilee at the right time and the right place.
Call of Peter…
Call of Isaiah…
Call of Paul…
Three ordinary men that God called to something extraordinary. None of them went willingly. They all dragged their feet and tried to come up with excuses as to why they could not fit this whole religion thing into their busy schedules. They also claimed that they were not worthy, that surely there was someone better to do the bidding of the Lord then them. I feel like the unworthiness is an important part of each of their calls to serve.
The reason I say that is because the unworthiness signals that God can use any of us. That does not mean that we have to be ignorant our whole life—but it does mean that God is willing to take us right where we are and work with us to show us, help us and guide us to know God’s presence among us. It may not always be easy—the part that we did not read in Isaiah for today—this is what God called him to do. This is from the Message Version Isaiah 6:9-13: “He said,(The Master or God) “Go and tell this people:
“‘Listen hard, but you aren’t going to get it;
look hard, but you won’t catch on.’
Make these people blockheads,
with fingers in their ears and blindfolds on their eyes,
So they won’t see a thing,
won’t hear a word,
So they won’t have a clue about what’s going on
and, yes, so they won’t turn around and be made whole.”
Astonished, I said,
“And Master, how long is this to go on?”
He said, “Until the cities are emptied out,
not a soul left in the cities—
Houses empty of people,
countryside empty of people.
Until I, God, get rid of everyone, sending them off,
the land totally empty.
And even if some should survive, say a tenth,
the devastation will start up again.
The country will look like pine and oak forest
with every tree cut down—
Every tree a stump, a huge field of stumps.
But there’s a holy seed in those stumps.” The work was going to be so difficult for Isaiah and the task was almost impossible, yet the Lord knew he would make a great prophet. Peter and Paul would both be executed for their work. They probably wanted to go back and keep their day jobs. This side hustle was becoming way to consuming on them. But the other thing that is really important for us to remember is that as Peter would fish for men and as Paul wrote to the people of Corinth something special was happening by the grace of God. There would not be any more destruction as in the days of Isaiah—there would be forgiveness and resurrection instead.
These folks whom God has called is like a long chain and each person is a separate link, but we are interconnected. Whether it was 600 BC, or the first century or 2019 the chain keeps growing. Look at your own families some of you now have two or three links hooked on to that chain beyond you already in your children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren.
We hold fast to the same hope that God promises to be with us. Listen again as Paul said, “The gospel that I proclaimed to you, which in turn you received, in which you also stand, through which you are being saved. If you hold firmly to the message that I proclaim to you—unless you have come to believe in vain. We all are called and for many of us that calling turns into a side hustle, which we would rather do from home. How many people do you know that say they believe but stay home and don’t go to church any day of the week? You who have showed up here today you have turned that hustle into a job and God is proud of you. So now we have to ask ourselves, is that job going to be part-time or full-time? You already know that God will provide you with all the qualifications to do the job, its just a matter of how much do you want to commit? Jesus is going to love you full-time. God is going to give us grace for salvation every day, 24/7. The Holy Spirit is willing to strengthen the flesh for what ever task we may need to endure and celebrate every joy in this world and the next. No matter the time and the effort you are willing to give God is going to use us as God sees fit. May we be willing when God calls us and asks us “whom shall I send,” to respond, “Here Am I, send me.” Amen.