Leaving the family business


When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
- Mark 1:19-20
Following Jesus can have a significant impact on our relationships. In the weeks ahead, we’ll look at how following Jesus can link us closer to each other, can help us cross barriers, and can help us develop deep friendships. But today, we want to pause for a beat to see the other side.
James and John leave their family business to follow Jesus. They leave their father to follow Jesus.
Zebedee, their father, had built or inherited what looks to be a pretty successful business. He has a team of employees working for him. He’s partnered up with Simon and Andrew (and perhaps their family). And his adult sons are being groomed to take over the enterprise.
We never hear from Zebedee. He doesn’t bless his sons to go or browbeat them as they leave (at least, not that we have record). He doesn’t show up later in the story, though his wife does petition Jesus for special treatment for her sons in a later story in a different Gospel.
Following Jesus does, at times, come with a cost. He doesn’t offer us cheap discipleship. That cost may be small – driving two cars to worship on Sunday so someone in the family can help with setup. Or that cost may be large – a family member who will no longer speak to you because you are following Jesus.
Have you – or someone you know – had family conflict as a result of following Jesus? How did you (or they) navigate it? How did the broader spiritual community help you in that season?


I didn't know that part of your story, Jan. That sounds like a difficult season and a difficult decision to make. I'm so grateful you're a part of our community and that God has placed so many people in your life who love you.

When I first moved to Pittsboro in 2009 I was staying with a zen buddhist and I was engaged to him. I found CCC and started attending a small group as well. Although I was not living in a manner pleasing to God, the church members accepted me without condemnation. My small group reached out to Victor and Doug Cooper met with him several times. As I grew closer to God through my experience at CCC I grew further away from Victor and had my own place. As I realized how he was wrong for me emotionally and spiritually, I cut off contact. CCC became my family since I was alone in Pittsboro. Through the church, and through living here for 8 years I have friends and spiritual family galore. God does restore what we lose by following him!

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