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02.10.19 Called One Way or Another, Isa 6.1-8, Luke 5.1-11 Sermon Summary

by on February 11, 2019

(Delivered in first person as Peter)

We was just finishing up for the night, FINALLY. It was so discouraging for us fishermen. The work day was coming to an end. That sounds like a good thing, right? WRONG!

See, normally, my brother Andrew and I would clean the nets while our partners James and John sold fish on the shore. On a good night, there’d be so much fish we’d have to go to market to sell it all. THOSE are long work days for us. Not this one.

We’d lowered our nets all night. We caught nothing; not a single catch. Over and over we tried. “Let’s try over there.” “Let’s have a snack, then try again.” “How’s the family, Simon? I hear your mother-in-law’s sick.”

“Yeah, my mother-in-law WAS sick. But then that guy Jesus came over after teaching one Saturday. He healed her or something. I’m no doctor or anything. Maybe she was faking it.”

So now this guy Jesus was on the seashore teaching again. We were listening to him, kind of. We were washing our nets.  It’s like side work in a restaurant for those of you who have worked in restaurants. One of you waiters gets “cut” which means you’re the first to go home. The restaurant is about to close. The kitchen is already closing down. You’re first cut so you do side work. Clean up. Like wiping down the ketchup bottles.

But then a couple comes in, or worse, a large group from the theater. And all of the sudden the kitchen springs back to life and you’re no longer cut.

Well, that’s what happened to us. We were doing our side work and this crowd starts gathering around Jesus. So he calls to me and my brother Andrew and he climbs right into our boat.

“Put out a little from the shore,” he says. And he starts teaching from the boat! I’m looking at that crowd and thinking, “Lots of people here to buy fish. Too bad we don’t have any.” I just want this day to be over.

So what seemed like forever—you know how preachers can get long-winded, right?—and with my frustration level getting pretty high, Jesus the healer/teacher says to me, “Put out to the deep water and let down your nets.”

I look over to James and John. They’re done washing their nets and storing them in the boat. I look down at my nets, all nice and clean. I look out at the water where we’ve been fishing all night. And I look out at the crowd all those people about to watch me fail.

And I says to Jesus, “Look, we’ve been out there all night and we ain’t caught a thing.” But Andrew was all excited and the crowd was murmuring. And Jesus was just standing there looking at me. So I says, “If you say so.”

We push out to the deeper waters. James and John are laughing to themselves. And me and Andrew cast our net out to the sea. I turn to look at Jesus. “Happy now?” I says to him with my face.

And there’s this twinkle in his eye, and the sea below us begins to rumble. And the boat begins to shake a little, then a lot. And we start to get pulled over because the nets fill up with fish!

“Hey, get over here!” I yells to James and John. They row out and cast their net and the same thing happens. The crowd goes wild. Some people run into town. And Jesus says to me, with his face, “Are YOU happy now?”

As we struggle to fill the boats, so many people gather. I’ve never seen a crowd so big, which is great, because I’ve never seen a catch of fish so big. And I’m thinking “Cha-ching! It’s payday! I should probably tithe on the profits towards this Jesus’ ministry.”

I look over to Jesus and with his eyes he says, “Now that I have your attention.”

But it wasn’t just Jesus looking at me. Through those eyes I realized it was more. It was God looking at me. And then I heard this little voice inside me:  “You didn’t realize it till now, but I’ve been walking on this lake with you your whole life. Through the nights of catchless fishing. When you despaired of failure. I’ve been with you all along. And now you know.”

I thought, “Oh, man. This is holy ground.” I remembered the prophet Isaiah when he was called. He was in worship and had a vision of God in the Temple. And he said, “Woe is me! For I am a man of unclean lips. And I live among people with unclean lips.”

And I remembered what Isaiah heard, that “the whole earth is full of God’s glory.” Not just the Temple in Jerusalem. And not just in heaven. But the whole earth. Even the Lake of Gennesaret. Even this place here. Even in yous life—“full of God’s glory.”

So I did what Isaiah did. I says to Jesus, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man.”

And the twinkle in his eye turned to laughter and he said to me, “Don’t be afraid. From now on you will be catching people.”

It took some time to get those boats back to shore. I thought of it all: The hungry households the fish would feed. How Jesus had blessed me to provide for them. How God moves in our lives in various ways.

Maybe it starts with worship like it did with Isaiah. Maybe it starts with success like with me. Maybe it starts with a healing like with my mother-in-law. Maybe it starts with a teaching like with the crowds. It doesn’t matter where it starts, or what direction it goes. What matters is realizing God is at work, blessing us in order to bless others.

And I decided I wanted to be a part of that for the rest of my life. So when we got to shore and Jesus stepped out of the boat . . . I followed him.

The catch of fish that day fed an entire village. And many times more Jesus fed hungry people. At the end of it all he gave us ritual meal to remember this. He took bread and blessed it. He broke it and gave it to us and said it was his body given for us. And the cup of blessing was a new covenant sealed by his blood.

We participated in the meal that first night, not fully understanding. But a few days later, after he had been crucified and resurrected (!) and ate with us again—this time with fish!—we understood. He gave himself for us and called us to follow him so we could give ourselves for others. And in this way, the whole world could be fed.

Yep, amazing things happen when you decide to follow Jesus. So go ahead and interrupt your own side work, for God’s glory is right there next to you. And see what kind of work God has for you on the side. Because with Jesus and through you, God satisfies the hungry world.

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