When we stop asking, “What’s in it for us,” and allow God to use us for His Church and His Gospel, we experience miracles. We have been given gifts and talents from God not for our use, but for God to use to preach to others. We receive the grace of God when we are His voice and His hands and feet to reach others. Invite someone to Church! Then watch God’s grace overflow the Church.
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My brothers and sisters, we just heard a story about a few fishermen. And I would suspect that considering the profession of so many of our people, we can relate to this particular story. These fishermen worked all night long and caught not one fish. And here Christ shows up out of nowhere. They’re cleaning their nets, they’re finally going to have some rest, and Christ gets into one of the boats. Now, can you imagine what Simon must have felt like? Not again. I just got home and Christ says, “Come on, push the boat out a little bit.”
So immediately now, Simon is allowing himself to be used by God, allowing his own resources, his boat, to be used by God, not for fishing, but for preaching. Now think about that for a moment. Think about the profound humility and love, and I would even say obedience, that in this moment Simon Peter is showing to us. You see, because when we have worked all day long and we are exhausted beyond, and someone calls, hey, can you help me out? Nine times out of 10, I’m sorry, I just got home. I can’t come. Imagine the willingness no matter how exhausted we are, no matter what our resources are, we allow ourselves in that last minute, at the end of our energy level, at the end of our resources, to allow God to use us. Not necessarily for the things that we do professionally, but to preach the word of God. We talk about stewardship all the time in our conversations.
I don’t talk about it much from the pulpit, but we talk about using the gifts that God has given us for his church. And we have plumbers, we have roofers, we have painters, and all of our people are always so generous to use resources for the church. And we’re thankful for that. But sometimes we forget we’re not painting the walls, we’re not fixing the air conditioning so we can have pretty walls and air conditioning. We do it so people can hear the word of God. We use our resources for the church so the church can preach the word of God to the people and so that people can hear the hope that comes in Christ. You see, my brothers and sisters, God has given each of us unique gifts in our abilities, but also unique gifts in our resources. We live in a society that wants always to know what’s in it for me.
You know, open up the newspaper, you this, you that. Every time there’s some bargain or some deal, the question is always, what’s in it for me? And yet, when it comes to the church, we receive nothing physical, nothing material, when we allow God to use us. The fishermen in this morning story, they receive nothing but a headache. But they received the blessing, they received the grace of God. And what was the result? So many fish that two boats began to sink. They were not enough to carry all the fish.
Just imagine what our church would be like if we stopped considering what’s in it for me and began simply to say to God, “Okay, God, I know I’m tired. I know I have tried over and over. But because you say so, I’ll give it another try.” They had no idea they were going to catch so many fish. And yet for some reason, we want a guaranteed outcome. We don’t risk anything in our daily lives unless we can somehow predict a positive result for ourselves. This morning, God is asking us to change our logic. This morning, God is asking us to embrace his request, to be his mouth, his hands, his feet, and then allow his grace to overflow. Not so that we can get something, but so that our neighbors, our relatives, who happen to maybe have fallen away from the church, our co-workers, can hear the word of God and come and receive a little bit of hope that is in the gospel.
Because what did Christ say to Peter after all of these miracles? He says, “From now on, you’re going to be catching men.” And Christ used the most basic people to spread his gospel. Nothing fancy, no high education PhD, some fishermen. And now he wants to use us. He wants to use us, my brothers and sisters, to go out and be his voice. I have a challenge for everyone this week. Go and invite someone to church. Go to anyone. It can be a family member who hasn’t been here for a long time. It can be a neighbor who you notice is always at home on a Sunday. It can be someone you work with who seems to be a little lost.
This week, go and invite someone to church. Be God’s mouth. Go out and fish. Go out into the deep of our society and throw the nets of Christ. And then watch as our church is filled with those who need to hear the word of God, who need hope in their life, who have come to experience as we have his loving grace. You’ve all been designated fishers of men and women this week. Go cast your nets and see what God has in store for our community, and let’s watch the miracles come. Let’s watch the people come. But most importantly, let’s watch God’s grace overflow the lives of our neighbors and friends because we have allowed God to use us. Glory to God.
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