Based on the Gospel of Mark, chapter 1
Do you ever help your mother in the kitchen? [Pause for answers.] What do you do? [Pause for answers.] Is it fun being a helper? [Pause for answers.] And you learn lots along the way!
There are lots of problems in our world. What are they? [Pause for answers.] Hunger, Homelessness, War, Sickness, Environment.
Now, Jesus taught us that God is love: so God is not happy about the bad things in the world. So what’s God doing about it? Lots of things!
But the most important thing God has done is to send Jesus, so that Jesus could show us how to put things right.
So when Jesus came, he did lots of good things. What good things did Jesus do? [Pause for answers.] He made friends with people who had no friends, he made sick people well, he fed hungry people, he stopped people from drowning. Lots of good things.
And what does he call this kind of thing? He calls this the Kingdom of God. Because, in all the old stories, the king decides what should be done: If the king says, Everyone needs to work harder this week, they will; if the king says, OK, tomorrow will be a holiday, there will be a holiday. Right? So when God is the king—when God is in charge—bad things in the world begin to be put right.
So one day, soon after Jesus begins his work, he’s walking along the beach. (Have you ever walked on the beach? [Pause for answers.] Scrunch your toes up as if you’re walking on the beach.) And he’s thinking, Hmmm, who I do I want to help me in my work?
Then he sees two men fishing from a boat. (Everyone pretend to be a fisherman.) Their names are Simon Peter and Andrew, and they’re brothers. They’re throwing the net into the water (throw your net), and waiting for the fish to swim into it, and then pulling the net in with the fish in it (pull the fish in).
And Jesus watches them for a bit, and thinks, Hmmm, they look like they would be good helpers. So he stops, and they stop what they’re doing and look at him, and he smiles, and says, Hey, guys, I want you to stop what you’re doing, and come and follow me. And they leave their nets and their boats and their fish—just like that—and they begin to follow Jesus (scrunch your toes again) and become his helpers. And their lives are never the same again!
But the story isn’t finished yet. He goes a little further along the beach and sees two more fishermen. Their names are James and John, and they’re brothers too, and they’re fishermen too. But these brothers are not fishing. They’ve finished for the day, so what are they doing? They are looking carefully at their nets to see if any of the strings have got broken (can you examine your nets?), and they’re mending them.
And Jesus (along with Simon Peter and Andrew) watches them for a bit, and thinks, Hmmm, they look like they would be good helpers. So he stops, and they stop what they’re doing, and they look at him, and he smiles, and says, Hey, guys, I want you to stop what you’re doing, and come and follow me. And they leave their nets and their boats and their fish—just like that—and they go with Jesus, and become his helpers. And their lives are never the same again!
And for three years, they hang out with Jesus. They watch what he does, they listen to his teaching, and they begin to do the kind of things that he does. They become what we call disciples. The grown-up word for that would be apprentices—they were apprentices of Jesus, learning from him how to put the world to rights.
Well, all that is a long time ago. But you know an amazing thing: Jesus is still around, even though we can’t see him any more. And he says to each of us, “Come and follow me. You can be my helper (or disciple), just like Simon Peter and Andrew, James and John.” They’re not religious, they don’t have any training for this, but it doesn’t matter.
And every day, if you’re learning to be Jesus’ helper, you can “STOP and listen to God,” and say, “OK, Jesus, what are you doing today? How can I help? What do you want me to do to make your world a better place?” And every day, you will find that Jesus gives you things to do. And Jesus will do his work, and grow his kingdom, through you and me. Just like those four fishermen, we can be Jesus’ disciples, and help with God’s work in the world!