Jan 22, 2017 sermon, based on Matthew 4:12-23
"Looking for a Few Good Men" 
When Jesus wanted to find twelve good disciples to help him in his ministry, he didn’t really use some of today’s really sensible hiring practices.
All he did was walk down to the lake in Galilee, and tap a few of the fisherman he saw.
First Simon/Peter and his brother Andrew; then James and John, the sons of Zebedee.
This was the beginning of the motley crew that he would assemble as his helpers.

Today,…maybe he’d do it a little different like with an advertisement on a website - 
Looking for a Few Good Men.
Previous experience in discipleship preferred but will train.
Familiarity with the Holy Scriptures helpful.
Successful candidate needs to be good with people and have a positive attitude.
Payment and reward for work promises to be of the highest grade.
For an interview apply on-line to JesusTheMessiah.org with references’.

I’ll bet he’d get a pool of excellent applicants to apply for the discipleship job.
Of course, the job posting I just suggested doesn’t really tell the whole story.
Like a lot of jobs,…the devil is in the details and the sticky stuff is never told up front.

A more honest advertisement might sound something like this…..
Position requires that you will have to travel extensively and leave home and family.
You will have to question or doubt some of your ideas about God and your religion.
Need to be thick skinned for when people reject your message and are hostile to you.
Short term salary will be dependent on gifts and offerings of people along your journey.
Within a few years be expected to assume your Manager’s duties after he is executed.
We won’t work you to death but it’s likely your work will end up literally getting you killed.

How many applicants do you think this more truthful advertisement would garner?
Would you have applied for the job of being a follower of Jesus?
If Jesus used one of these advertising approaches to pick up twelve disciples he’d either have to lie to get a large pool of applicants, or…. end up with no one wanting the job.

The gang he ended up with were not from the Harvard Business School Dean’s List.
They were not listed on the ‘Who’s Who of Religious studies’ in Galilee or Judea.
They were not worldly or well read or brave military figures who’d command respect.
They were a pretty basic bunch, including the one who became the de-facto leader of the bunch (Peter) who was always getting wrong what Jesus was trying to teach.

Of course, we always assume Jesus knew what he was doing when he called them.
The truth is, Jesus had only one criteria for the job that they would need to meet.
Maybe he simplified it by merely seeing if they would do one thing when he called them.
That is to leave what they were doing, walk away from where they were, and follow him.

So Andrew didn’t complain about what he had to give up to go with Jesus. 
Peter didn't say ‘Wait a minute, you can’t expect me to quit my job, do you?’
Peter wasn’t so worried about what might happen that he froze in place.
He just forgot about his whatever fears he might have,…and trusted Jesus.

James and John didn’t whine that they had to fix their nets first before they went.
They didn’t say ‘But our father will not approve and the business will suffer if we go’.
They didn’t look at each other and say ‘Well, I’m not going unless you go first’.
They just left their father, the business, and any apprehensions and they trusted Jesus.

The problem that we all (myself very much included) have as people who are supposedly followers of Jesus Christ,..
is that we're only willing to follow Jesus some of the time.
Often we freeze up at his call instead of following due to fear of losing what we have.
We balk at his summoning because of what might go wrong if we go his way.
And since we’re so private about our faith we don’t want to leave the security of the crowd and say 'no one else is doing that'.

So we say; ‘Yeah Jesus, I know what you want me to follow you, but there’s….’
There’s this grudge that I don’t want to let go of,…so I won’t go your way and forgive others.
There’s this fear I have about having enough,…so I can’t go with you and donate to that charity.
There’s this pride that I cling to,…so I’d rather not admit my wrongs and apologize for things I’ve done. 
There’s this insecurity I have of what others will say,…so its hard to leave that and follow you.

We’re so often in these kinds of places that we don’t want to leave them to follow Jesus.
Even though he calls us all the time, we lack faith and trust in where he’ll want to take us.
Oh, we may have faith to believe that God loves and forgives and saves us and we may follow Jesus in doing good deeds much of the time.
But for the real hard stuff of that following Jesus sometimes requires,…we often just wanna stay where we are.

So what is the solution to our inertia to follow Jesus?    In short - more faith.
More faith equals a willingness to follow Jesus to whatever place he wants to take us.
To the place where we more freely admit our own faults and failings,……
to the place where those who’ve hurt us are offered up forgiveness,…
to places where we share more of what we have with the needs of others,…
to places where you go against the popular and conventional for Christ’s sake to do the right thing.

How do we get more of this faith?     I wish I had an easy answer.
Prayer for help from the Spirit of God is a good place to start.
And regular worship, if one can make it, also can help get us moving of the schnide.
The Lutheran Confessions says faith is having “confidence in the promise of God”.
That it’s “not an easy thing” which “does not come without a struggle in the heart”.
It involves “forsaking one’s self”, which means going Jesus’ way instead of our own.

But however we find more faith and get to moving,…both we and the world will be better off when we do as the disciples did and follow Jesus on his Way.
We all plan to trust and follow him in faith when we die,... so let’s try to do so while we’re still here too.

Amen.