Wednesday, August 12
Apostles' Creed Focus
“the holy catholic church, the communion of saints”
“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.” - Matthew 14:18-20
As a little girl I used to dig for worms on my grandparent’s farm with my brother and sisters. We would fill an old margarine container and then head to the lake on their property. It was small but stocked. Some days we would catch one fish after another. Other days we did a lot of sitting and waiting. The worst days were when one of us continually caught fish while the others didn’t.
It can be difficult not to compare. The same is true when it comes to fishing for people. God called Peter and Andrew away from their boats to cast God’s message to the world in order to reel in souls that would turn from sin and turn to God.
The disciples worked together and saw many people believe the gospel message. Yet they didn’t always embrace the statement made in this week’s sermon, “A fish in the boat is a fish for all.” They argued over who would be considered the greatest and even had their momma ask for special seats in God’s kingdom on their behalf. (Matthew 20:21) This same tendency to want individual recognition over community movement reveals itself in our nature too.
“Lord, what about him? Why is her life easier than mine?” or “Lord, why is she so healthy while I suffer?” or “Why does he live in a big house with lots of things and I don’t” or “Lord, Why is her family so functional and mine dysfunctional?” Have you ever asked these questions or something similar in the dark night of your soul?
I know I have. Peter learned from Jesus how to fish for men, and God used him to lead the early church in incredible ways. Yet he didn’t completely dodge the green monster of jealousy. Towards the end of Jesus’s ministry, He shared with Peter that he would face some difficulties later in his life. Peter’s response is recorded in John 21:20-22, “Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved - the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?” Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”
We can learn from Peter that a fish in the boat is a fish for all. Our responsibility is not outcomes, but faithfulness. God says to each of us, “As for you, follow me.” As we consider how we can keep our eyes on Jesus, we will be less concerned with how He deals with others. We can mourn with those who mourn, but also celebrate with those who celebrate. And above all else, we can learn to love and support others realizing that we are all fishing for people so that they won’t spend eternity separated from God.
When we keep those things in mind, we can change our question from,
“What about them?”
“How can I help?"
Where is the Lord calling you to apply this question in your life today?
Lord, I admit that I sometimes want results and recognition. Help me to care more about building your kingdom than mine. I want to keep my eyes on You so that I can follow close. When I start to look sideways, help me to look up instead. In Jesus name, Amen.
Verses for Further Reflection
Galatians 6:4-5; 2 Corinthians 10:12; James 3:16; Philippians 2:3; Romans 12:15
Luke 15:10 comes in between the second and third of the lost parables. These parables are the stories that Jesus tells to speak about the relationship between people and God. They speak of God’s faithfulness to find us when we wander away from him and become lost. It is the joy that is felt when we are found that is the end of each of the stories. Read through Luke 15 with your family and look for the way each story ends with rejoicing when the lost animal/thing/person is found. If we rejoice over each of these, why wouldn’t we rejoice when a lost person finds their way to Jesus through salvation.
Read Luke 15:7 and 10 and and then talk through these discussion questions:
- What do you think angels are like?
- Do you think you would be scared or excited to see an angel?
- Do you know Jesus? If so, how did you come to know him?
- Have you ever seen or heard of someone coming to know Jesus for the first time?
- What does it mean to "repent"?
- Why do you think the angels feel joy when someone repents?