When I think about
being called to the position as Senior Pastor, I think about
the calling that we see of various people in scripture.
Last week we looked at the calling of Moses in the
Old Testament and today, I want to go to the New Testament
and look at the calling of St. Peter. It is fascinating to realize how many people in the Bible have
the same reaction that we have when we are called. When God calls people, they almost unanimously
have the same reaction.
It just is astonishing to me.
In the gospel of Luke, chapter 5 we read the following
calling of St. Peter:
One day as Jesus was
standing by the Sea of Galilee, when the people crowded
around Him and listened to the word of God, He saw at the
waters edge two boats left there by the fishermen who were
washing their nets.
He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to
Simon, also known as Peter, and asked him to put out a little
from shore. Then He sat down and taught the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking He said
to Simon, "Put out into deep water and let the nets
out for a catch."
Simon answered, "Master we've worked all night
and haven't caught anything. But because You say so, I'll let down the nets." When they had done so, they caught such
a large number of fish, that their nets began to break so
they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and
help them and they came and they filled both boats so full
that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees said, "Go
away from me Lord. I am a sinful man." For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch
of fish they had taken and so were James and John the sons
of Zebedee, Simon's partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Do not be afraid;
from now on, you will catch men." So they pulled their boats up on the shore,
left everything and followed Jesus. (Luke 5:1-11)
Jesus said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers
of men." Often
when we hear the words to follow Jesus, our immediate reaction
is, I am not worthy. I am not good enough, I am not smart enough,
and I am not whatever it might be. We have a host of excuses as to why we cannot follow Christ.
But the calling is clear.
The calling is real and the calling is true.
When we follow Christ and we do His bidding and we
do what He asks us to do, life just becomes more rewarding
and more fulfilling than you could ever possibly imagine. St. Peter left everything and followed
he has, I can only imagine, this mountain of fish that they
left on the beach. Now I have had experiences where I've
caught lots of fish. I remember going out with my son in
the local water here, and we started fishing and he caught
a nice little fish. Pretty soon his buddy caught another
cute little fish, and then my son couldn't bring in a fish
that he had on the line.
I said, "quit fooling around and bring that
fish in, we've got to go find some big fish."
When he finally brought the fish up, it was a huge
Albacore tuna. Meanwhile, his friend caught an Albacore too! Finally, everybody
on the boat got into this action and we stayed there for
about four or five hours bringing in Albacore tuna that
were about twenty pounds each.
The boat was full. I turned to everybody and said,
"You know we have to clean all these fish. Who wants
to keep fishing?"
I can imagine Peter looking at that mountain of fish, and
thinking to himself, "I can clean all these fish, or
I can follow Jesus and be a fisher of men."
When I look at the life of Peter, what he had done,
where he had come from, I can equate with him.
Everything had to be black and white for Peter; you
can't tiptoe around the subjects. He just tells it like it is. If he sees something going on, he jumps
right in and does something about it. He had heard the teachings
of Jesus, enough so that when Jesus said, "Can I borrow
your boat?" Peter said, "Yes sure let's go."
And he followed the Master. Peter followed Jesus
because he saw who He was, what He could do, and the impact
He had in people's lives. That's Peter.
Today God is calling all of us to do what we have been called
to do. For
many it is to clean the fish.
The fish come in and they need to be cleaned.
For many of us it is to go out and gather the fish,
to go out and do the labor and collect the fish.
For others it's to share the good news and to let
people know that there's lots of things that God wants to
do in our lives; to build faith, to build inspiration, to
We recently remembered Martin Luther King on his birthday.
Martin Luther King heard the call of a woman who
wasn't allowed to sit on a bus just because of the color
of her skin. And
it was as if God Himself was calling him.
And 380 days later, December 21st 1956, blacks and
whites sat on the bus together equally - Because one man
chose and decided to follow the call of God. And others heard the call and they followed
God. And others
heard the call and they followed God.
And when we follow the call of God, street saints
are born. People's lives are changed, the communities
are changed, and cities are changed, and countries are changed
and the world is changed when we open up to the calling
of God and say yes.
The question is why do people consistently say no? We listen to the negatives in our mind
over and over again and its time to put the negatives away
and listen to the positives, the reality, the truth of the
gospel of Jesus Christ. You can do all things if you believe.
St. Peter saw the miracles that Christ was doing. He saw the miracle of the fish and Jesus
says, "Follow Me."
Peter consistently says, "I can't do it, I am
a sinner." Jesus continually says, "Follow Me,"
until Peter says, "Yes Lord, I'll follow You."
I think of all the individuals in the Bible I can
relate to it is Peter. Peter is a guy's guy.
He looks at things just the way they are, no tip
toeing around with Peter, "just tell me the real scoop
got calluses on his hands from working with the nets and
the fish. He takes up the sword to defend Christ.
He cuts off the soldier's ear.
He's a man's man. He's ready to go. He denied Christ
three times. He's the only one in the Bible who was
called not once, but twice.
He's the first one called in the New Testament and
the last one called in the New Testament.
In John 21, we hear his second calling.
He is out fishing again.
He has decided that since Jesus is dead, He has resurrected
and has ascended into heaven; he would just go back and
do what he always did.
So Peter is out fishing again.
As he is fishing he hears a voice on the shore say,
"Cast your nets on the other side."
He thinks this is stupid. But he thinks, "Well,
we tried everything else, we'll just cast them on the other
As he did, do you know what happened? Just fish, tons and tons and tons of fish came into the nets.
He realizes it's Jesus, who has done this, and he went ashore
very quickly and he said, "Jesus, what You doing?" And Jesus said to him, "Simon do
you love Me? And
he said, "Of course, Lord." Jesus says, "Then
feed My sheep." And Jesus says again, "Simon do you
love Me?" And
Peter says, "Of course I love You." Jesus says,
"Feed My sheep." And a third time Jesus says, "Simon
Peter do you love Me?" and Peter says, "Of course
I do." Again,
Jesus says, "Then feed My sheep."
And Peter is called again and this time Peter becomes
the head of the church and he gives his entire life to Christ
and to everything that Christ would have him to do. Peter
takes the gospel to the very ends of the world and in Rome
he is crucified upside down for his faith because he doesn't
want to die the same way Christ died.
When we are called by God and we stay true to that calling,
and when we say, "Yes Lord, I am Yours, use me,"
God finds miraculous ways to use us. There are different
ways He can use us. He can use us to be a mentor to another
person. He can use us to give a helping hand to someone
who needs a helping hand.
He can use us to give a lifting voice; He can use
us to support an institution which needs the finances to
continue its mission.
He can use us to do a myriad of things.
But it requires us to say, "Yes, Lord." It's time for us to turn off the negative
thoughts in our mind which prevent us from doing that which
God has called us to do. It is time to say, "Yes"
to Jesus; "Where You lead I will follow."
That is our prayer today.
That is the prayer we need to pray today and every
day. And so I ask you right now, to join me in a prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, You are a good God. You are a loving God. You are a God who cares for the sparrows
and if You care for the sparrows in the field, how much
more won't You care for me?
And so take away the negative thoughts which hold
me back. Take
away the thoughts which don't allow me to be the person
that You have called me to be.
Give me the positive thoughts to realize that You
will forgive my sins. Give me the positive thoughts that You
will give me everything that is required for me to do the
job that You have for me to do.
Give me the positive thoughts that You will always
be there, that You will always care. That if we listen to You and we cast our
nets, there will be far more than we can ever possibly imagine. And so we thank You Lord for everything.
We praise Your name always, and we follow You to
the ends of the world. Amen.