Following directions

February 10, 2019

 

READ: Luke 5. 1-11

I have a confession to make:
I love Legos.
You know, the little, multicolored building bricks?
I know they are for kids — or are they? — and I used to spend hours building things with my kids.
Now they’re not as interested in Legos.
But I am…
Still.
Always have been, so why stop?
There’s something very cathartic and satisfying about building with Legos.
In fact, I’ve been many of offices to meet with people who had Lego sets nearby.
And there are companies who put them in break rooms for the same reason —
a chance to de-stress and maybe even meditate a bit.
It’s no wonder why Legos are the largest-grossing toy in the world.
One day, tho, a friend gave us an old set of Legos that had the directions, but didn’t have the box—
so there was no picture to see what the thing was supposed to look like.
It’s really hard to build something when you don’t know what the thing is supposed to look like.
Are you with me?
Some people are really good at this.
Not me. I need to sort of envision what it is that I’m working on.
I’m what they call a “visual learner.”
Teachers, you know all about this, don’t you?
I’m the worst sort. lol
So building brick-by-brick with these very one-dimensional directions, snapping block to block until it sort of creates something. 
Trusting that it will just happen.
And it does.
When the last brick was snapped into place, Sponge Bob’s Krusty Krab restaurant looked … just fantastic.

Luke
After reading Luke’s account of Jesus and Simon Peter in the boat on the lake, where Jesus tells Simon to put back out onto the lake after a hard night of getting skunked on the lake with some of the other new disciples,
I thought about how maddening it must have been for the guys to follow Jesus back out.
Tired, worn out, frustrated.
Simon Peter gives an answer tantamount to… “Um, well, we just came from there, Jesus, and there was nothing, but, well, okaaaaaaaay….”
Listen to his words:
“Master, we’ve worked hard all night and caught nothing. But because you say so, I’ll drop the nets.”
Simon Peter probably agrees to Jesus’s request out of respect.
One sign of that is that Simon calls Jesus “Master.”
That’s a term of respect.
And also that if we were to skim back just a little bit, we’d have seen Jesus heal Simon Peter’s mom, who was very ill. (Luke 4.31).
So he does it out of respect and out of trust.
He does so out of OBEDIENCE.
But does Simon-Peter really trust Jesus?
Pretty clear that the answer to that is no.
Not really. Not yet.

First things first
What is Jesus doing here?
Remember now, it’s early in Jesus’s ministry, and he has to get the disciples on board with that ministry.
He has to undo some of the old Jewish ways and help them see what the Good News really is.
And how does he do that?
Sure, the baptism scene in which God addresses Jesus in full earshot of everyone.
And the miracles of healing of Peter’s mom and turning water into wine.
And the teaching in the synagogue, sure.
But Jesus needs to hit the disciples right where they live:
In the everyday, practical, utilitarian lives that they live —
for it’s HERE in their day-to-day lives where the real change begins;
where the witness is established;
where the transformation helps them — and us — to see that God is ALWAYS here;
ALWAYS at work;
ALWAYS leading us.
It’s not just the big miracle moments that happen here and there in our lives.
No the true miracle is the GOOD NEWS in our every day life;
with our every breath;
with our every word, deed, action and worship.
And so Jesus meets them right where they live.
“Let’s go catch some fish, guys.”
Nothing special.
The place where they live.
The place where they work.
The place they know like the back of their hand.
Lake Gennesaret — the Sea of Galilee.
Their backyards…
Do you see where this is going?
 Verse 6:
“So they dropped the nets and their catch was so huge that their nets were splitting. 7 They signaled for their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They filled both boats so full that they were about to sink.
8 “When Simon Peter saw the catch, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Leave me, Lord, for I’m a sinner!”  
What is Simon’s response?
“Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinner.”
Theologically speaking, this is Luke’s bent: We’re all sinners who need a savior.
We all need Jesus.
That’s one of Luke’s theological thrusts in his Gospel.
But at the same time, Simon feels so undeserving of the grace Jesus gives him —
not just in the large fish haul;
but that he loves Simon enough to teach him this faith lesson right where Simon lives.
And what happens?
What does Simon call Jesus?
Remember, at first, he calls him “master.”
A term of respect.
Then at the end, Simon calls Jesus “Lord.”
Do you see the difference?
Do you see what Jesus just did there?
Simon is now a believer.
He followed obediently and dutifully — but without faith.
Now he has faith.
And Jesus goes just from being a master — a teacher — to the LORD.
Master of Simon’s heart.
Master of Simon’s life.
Master of Simon’s eternity…
It’s like saying, “I’m yours, Jesus. I will follow you always.”

Directions
We began our conversation talking about following directions.
Building Lego kits without a picture of what the thing is supposed to look like takes a modest degree of faith.
I mean, it was probably a 20-year-old set of Legos that we were building.
What if pieces were missing?
They weren’t the way they were supposed to be — all in those little air-sealed bags in a box that you have to tear open.
No, they were in a Ziploc bag.
One giant bag…
With no picture.
I’ve built countless Lego sets. I know how it works.
But I don’t make it a practice to build old sets without directions..
It could be a waste of hours.
Ever do an old jigsaw puzzle and get to the end and like four pieces are missing?
Yeah, that.

Not so ordinary after all
Jesus gives Simon an old Lego set.
Says “Let’s put this thing together and see what it makes.”
Simon’s reluctant.
Simon JUST spent all night on an old Lego set that didn’t work out like the picture he had in his mind.
And Jesus asks him to do it again.
With Jesus, though, he does this:
He finds the ordinary thing that we take for granted
— that we think we know how it’s supposed to look like —
and he makes something special out of it.
Incredibly abundant.
Incredibly Perfect.
Just as he promised.
And our lives are like this too.
Sure, we can see the big miracles in our lives and be convinced.
But isn’t it in the everyday things that we really experience the comfort and peace of Christ?
Because if we’re just waiting for the occasional miracle on which to base our faith, then we’re gonna have a whole lot of days wallowing in a sea of ordinary nothingness.
And our faith withers.
But if we are obedient to Jesus each and every day —
and are truly listening to Christ and following God’s will in our lives, then we’re gonna see some amazing things happen each and every day.
Every minute.
Every church service.
Every walk to work.
Every friend we meet.
We might have a pre-notion of how things are going to turn out, but Jesus says “trust me, and I’ll make it abundantly bigger, better, blessed.”

People-fishing
So, what’s all this fishing for people stuff?
Jesus tells Simon at the end of this pericope:
“‘Don’t be afraid. From now on, you will be fishing for people.’ As soon as they brought the boats to the shore, they left everything and followed Jesus.”
That’s going from Master to Lord, right there.
And we need to do the same.
What do we expect to happen today in our lives, and in our worship?
How do we turn our obedience from duty — reporting to the Master — to a response to the Lord’s love for us?
Do you understand the difference now?
We can row out to our Master.
Or we can row out to our Lord.
When we do the former, we are simply doing what we’re supposed to do.
We can say we’re Christ followers.
But that can be lukewarm, and we have a whole lot of lukewarm in this world — neither hot nor cold.
God says in Revelation 3.16: “Because you are lukewarm … I will spit you out of my mouth.”
No, we want to be the latter — the ones whose lives not only follow the Master, but live our entire lives as a response to the Lord’s grace and love and mercy.
Completely obedient to him out of our LOVE for him.
And we can testify to that exact same choice in the way we worship today, can’t we?
Yes, we can.
Because if Jesus gets a hold of you in your everyday life,
yet you don’t let him take hold of your direction and your expectations of what he can do for you,
well, your worship is no different.
You simply cannot bifurcate your love for Christ.
You cannot cuss and be bitter and apathetic Monday through Saturday and full of love and joy on Sunday.
That’s not how it works.
It’s the EVERYDAY expectation of knowing — KNOWING — what Jesus is capable of doing in our lives.
Knowing that when we row out into the lake, we don’t do it simply out of duty; we do it out of excitement for what Jesus can do in our lives!
We don’t gotta do it; we get to do it…
We must live out our entire lives with this kind of faith and excitement —
Where ever we are and whatever we’re doing.
We can go through our day to day lives in the same pattern:
Wake up, go to work, come home, have dinner, watch tv, go to bed…
and within all those day to day habits never think that anything will ever change.
We fished the lake all night long; there are no fish out there!
But keep Jesus in the boat with us, listen to Jesus speak into our hearts, and follow Jesus out of loving obedience and excitement, and you watch the catch that he gives us.
Be fishers of your own lives.
Fishers for Christ’s love.
And when you can see the abundant things that Jesus does in your life, you go out and do the same for others.
You tell them about what Jesus has done for your life.
You say, “I’ll row back out with you.”
“I’ll walk your day-to-day life with you.”
But we won’t do it out of duty;
we’ll do it out of love.

What Paul says…
“Take your everyday, ordinary life
—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—
and place it before God as an offering.
Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.
Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.”
— Romans 12.1-2. ####

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Recent Posts

June 9, 2019

May 19, 2019

April 28, 2019

March 31, 2019

Please reload

Archive
Please reload

Search By Tags

I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!

Please reload

Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
  • facebook-square
  • Twitter Square