Sunday, June 10, 2012

Yes, you have to do it again...

  Have you ever been called to do something that seemed futile and a complete waste of time?  I had one of those moments recently in preparing for Sunday morning in our home church.
  Sunday was approaching; it was Saturday night, in fact.  I still did not have a message to share for the next morning and there was a mountain of errands to run.  We loaded up the car and headed out.  I did, in that moment, something that I almost never do.  I asked Kendra to drive.  I climbed into the passenger seat with my Bible and ipad.  Shortly thereafter, I decided it was pointless, and set my Bible aside.  I was just going to wait until I got home.  God had a different plan.

  I was suddenly drawn to pray on the matter.  I did.  Then I opened my Bible to nowhere in particular and started to read.  There it was, a passage from 1 Samuel.  I knew this was it.  Then came the other problem.  I was getting nothing out of it.  I put everything aside and we ran our errands.  

  On the way home (it was a bit of a drive to the next town) I put together my notes for that message.  I then read through my notes and decided this couldn't possibly be it.  We arrived at home, put the kids to bed, and I returned to my Bible in prayer.  Again, I was drawn to the same passage.  I started again, and was coming up with the same notes.  What was God trying to tell me?  I just wasn't grasping it.  I prayed again, begging for God to intervene if this was not right.  I did not want to make the mistake of delivering a message that was nothing but a well intended guess on my part.

  Sunday morning came and I didn't feel any better about the message.  I had no doubt that this was what I was supposed to be sharing, but had no idea where it was going to go.  I prayed for the epiphany that I hoped was only moments away.  We progressed through the children's worship service and the lesson that followed.  We moved into the adult service, still no epiphany.

  Worship moved into the message.  We prayed.  The selected passage was read aloud.  I started to read through my notes one last time, but stopped and instead just listened to the Word as it was read aloud.  When I again looked at my notes the words were the same, but there was a whole new meaning.  I was reading them in a different light.  I started to speak.  The words came from my mouth, but not from my understanding.  I was hearing this message as I was sharing it.

  Tears and prayer followed.  This was a word that was needed.  God had moved in my complete lack of understanding and made His message clear.  I stood there in awe, and then remembered the children's lesson from only an hour or so before.

  Luke 5: 4 - 11

  When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and let down the nets for a catch"
  Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything.  But because you say so, I will 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 filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
  When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, LORD; I am a sinful man!"  For he and all of 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, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men."  So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything, and followed him.

  These men were fishermen, they knew their craft.  They knew those waters.  There was no reason for them to think that what they had done over and over all night would bring a different result now.  Yet they trusted and obeyed the LORD.  They were blessed with an unexpected result.  What they knew did not matter.  It went out the window and was replaced by what God intended to do.

  Jesus did two things in that moment.  He blessed them with a large catch as a lesson in faith.  He also used something that they did understand, and did with it the impossible, to reveal something that they never would have grasped in any other way.  They were to be the start of a ministry that would change the world for God, overflowing church after church, just as Christ had done with the fish in their boat.

  It was this sort of thing that God had done for me with that Sunday morning message.  He took what I thought I understood and used it to teach me something I never would have caught any other way.

  Yes, I do intend to share that lesson at some point, but the one that I learned in the process warrants pondering in the mean time.  I should have remembered this:

  Proverbs 3: 5

  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

  We would all do well to remember this lesson from time to time.


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