Leaving the family business2
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?