Heroes of Our Faith
Dear Jesus, we ask that you speak into the calming of our minds and in the longings of our hearts, by the words of my lips and in the thoughts that we form. Amen
Have you ever had to do something that you just did not want to do? Maybe it was something at home, like doing the dishes or mowing the lawns or some other unpleasant chore. Maybe it was something at work - some dirty little job that nobody else wanted to do and so it falls into your lap. Even though you may not have wanted to do the job, you did it anyway. We’ve all been there. Ending up doing some job we really didn’t want to do.
Perhaps it was out of a sense of obligation or duty. Maybe you did the job out of respect for the person who asked you. Whatever the reason or the job, we’ve all had to do things that we just didn’t want to do.
This is where Simon Peter finds himself….. called to do something that he just doesn't want to do. The poor bloke has struggled through a night of failed fishing (anyone relate?) and finds himself with the much sort after Jesus of Nazareth boarding his boat to pitch a sermon at the beached crowd. Then Jesus told this exhausted fisherman and his mates, to head back to the deeper water, let down his nets to catch a great load of fish. I can’t imagine any of us wanting to head back into failure. But here’s the first message this morning. Their fishing failure had nothing to do with their skill set or experience or location. Their failure came about because Jesus was teaching them that without Him, we can accomplish nothing!
Many of us need this reminder. When we encounter struggles and failures in the church, we need to pause to review if it is God who is directing us. Now-days we have so much available to us to do Church. And yet it seems we are always losing ground to sport, to TV, to Sunday shopping, to the world. And yet with all these mod cons and stellar communications - we are guilty of trying to duplicate old ways that once worked and even using the activities of others that are working instead of relying on Christ’s call for ourselves. I guess the thing is, if we only go where we know and we only do what it sure to succeed, then don’t we remove our need for God?... Don’t we rob ourselves of the great adventure of Jesus charting a course for us that is as individual as our church!
And I think we need to remember that when we get onboard with opportunities to serve Jesus: Our success or our failure rests entirely on where Jesus stands in the boat! Is he at the helm or did we sail off into those deep deep waters without him. The story today tells us that we will fail when we do not trust Him! That we will come up empty if he isn’t with us when we cast our nets.
Now we know that Simon Peter and his mates were tired, frustrated, discouraged, and defeated. We know that the last thing any of them wanted to do was go back out and fish some more. We know this because most of us have been there.
There are times when God asks us to do certain things that we may not want to do. But as Church, as followers of Jesus, we need come to the same place that Peter came…and that is to make the decision, that regardless of how we are feeling or even how we feel about a certain matter, if God has commanded it, then we will do it! Upon the word of God, Peter let down his net.
But if we are honest, obeying or surrendering, isn't always easy for us. It doesn't feel right, it doesn’t sit right, it doesn’t necessarily do right….by us.
We often struggle to surrender in areas we think we are right, but if we are going to do right by Jesus, then we have to do what Peter did and let down our nets. If we want to be a blessing to God, then we must do the will of God!
You must have hero’s of the faith who you’ve looked up to. People who role modelled well what a follower of Jesus looks and sounds like. People tell me they’re often their old Sunday school teachers or their parents friends who were kind, or exciting or gracious and prayerful. Role models are usually those people who are fully committed to their Church and to God. They are the humble activity organisers, the ever present worship leaders, the ones at every Church function encouraging and supporting everyone else in their faith and their life. They are the ones deeply satisfied with their relationship with Jesus, their Church, with all others…because they don’t hold back anything from God.
These are the lives that are filled with the best that God can give, because they have surrendered everything in their life to God!
When Jesus told Peter to let down his net, and even though he didn't want too - he found that when he did, his life was far better than he could have ever imagined!
You may not like what Jesus is calling you to do today. You may even be feeling tired, frustrated, discouraged, and defeated, from working those fishing nets that keep coming up empty. You may be worried about what awaits this Church should we risk going back out in deeper waters to cast the net. But where will that leave you if God is asking us today if we will join Peter and say, “yes we will… we will do as you have commanded us”.
Thing is, no one can let down your net but you! No one can make you trust or obey or come up with new ways of fishing for people. But when Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” They pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. These, my friends, are the people I find to be role models of our faith.