Brief notes from the sermon delivered by Tim Cutting on Sunday 6 June 2010, at the Church of Christ the Cornerstone.
Tim has lived with his family in Milton Keynes since moving to work for Bridgebuilder Trust in 1993. He served as a schools worker with the Trust for over 13 years, then left to work with the national charity, Mission India, in promotion and fundraising. For the past 3 years he has worked out of a small office with the Church of Christ the Cornerstone. At the end of May this year Tim finished working for Mission India and is now prayerfully searching for God’s next ministry position for him. The lessons from the passage in Luke are things that God has challenged and spoken to Tim about….
Reading: Luke 5 v 1-11
Forgive me for mentioning a certain sporting event soon to place – especially as not everyone likes football! Yes, the World Cup tournament is about to ‘kick off’ in South Africa, and there will be 32 teams competing for the prize of football world champions. (Sadly there are one or two notable exceptions who failed to qualify, eg Peru - sorry Ernesto! - as well as Scotland, Wales and N Ireland… “Come on, England!”)
There will be ‘wall to wall’ coverage of the tournament and all the games, and every newspaper, radio and television report will draw out different aspects of each match.
Our reading provides us with a ‘match report’ of an incident early on in Jesus’ ministry, and Luke records the details of this seaside occurrence. Let me identify six main points that I observe within this report….
1. Jesus starts with what we do have available! v 2, 3
At the start the main focus is on ‘the crowd’ who are listening to Jesus. The fishermen are nearby ‘washing their nets’. But Jesus approaches them and asks to use one of their boats in order to preach from.
Jesus can always take and use what ‘resources’ (possessions, money, skills, gifts, abilities, etc) that we have available. He often starts with what we do have, and goes from there….
2. Jesus then makes a more demanding request! v 4
His request to Peter to “Put out into deep water and let down your nets” was significant. Peter, as the ‘professional’ fisherman knew it was naturally and humanly speaking a complete waste of time. They had fished all night and caught nothing. He knew there was no sensible reason to fish in the day, and in deep water too! However, here is one of the great Bible’s ‘but’s’…. “But, because you say so….” Only do what God wants if he says so. Faith is needed, so if Jesus says do it, we can trust Him for the more demanding challenges that will undoubtedly come.
3. Obeying Jesus leads to blessing – and complications! v 6
There is a great ‘blessing’ in responding to Jesus, but it can often bring complications too: their nets begin to break and the boats start to sink! I often like to receive God’s blessing, but not with any complications or problems that might come as a result of it! Be ready for God’s blessing – but also the complications that might follow. Jacob knew this when he ‘wrestled’ God for a blessing, then limped for the rest of his life!
4. It’s a team effort! v 7
Working for God cannot really be done alone; we need each other, for support, help and encouragement. Here Simon called his ‘partners’, and they came to his aide. We must be prepared to work alongside others and share the burden (and blessing!) together.
5. CV criteria: humility and awareness of sin! v 8
As I have recently finished work for Mission India, I have prepared my ‘CV’ for using in my search for a new job. Peter was an experienced fisherman, but in God’s kingdom and economy, it isn’t always ‘natural’ skills, gifts and experiences that will impress Him. Jesus wanted to see something different, and Peter revealed it:: “…he fell at Jesus’ knees and said,’ Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man’.” This was the response Jesus needed to hear, and the ‘CV’ that passed his interview test!
6. Courageous people given new opportunities! v 10
Jesus responds to Peter’s ‘CV’ statement with a word of encouragement, and a new commission: “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will be ‘fishers of people’!”
If we bravely and faithfully follow Jesus, he will give us new challenges and further opportunities to serve Him…. That’s what I want to experience as I follow Him in my life.