Sunday, January 27, 2013

A different Kind of Church Service

It’s morning, not long after sunrise. The early birds have already had their first couple of shots of caffeine and their low fat, low carb, low sodium breakfast is just a memory. Late risers are just shuffling toward the coffee pot and fumbling for the on switch, unable to see very well because their eyes aren’t open yet. Shop keepers are sweeping their front steps and opening their doors, venders are hurrying to their places along the streets, carts and baskets loaded with goods they hope to sell to the public. Fishermen are cleaning their nets, some exclaiming over the cash they received for the long night’s toil, others wearily shrugging their shoulders and saying to themselves, “Maybe, we will do better tonight.” A crowd gathers by the lake shore. It’s noisy. Men are talking, mother’s are shushing their children, short folks are pushing toward the front to get a better look, those with difficulty hearing are straining just to be able to hear the man standing apart from them. He isn’t much to look at; average height, average looks, average clothes, but there’s just something about him, and no one seems to be able to take their eyes off him. Some say he is a heretic, a blasphemer. Some say he is a holy man. No one knows’ what to think, but everyone it seems has decided to stick around and hear what he has to say. As you watch, the man steps over to a couple of fishermen who are readying their nets for the evening’s work. He talks to them and asks if they will row their boat out a little way and keep it there while he talks to the people. The men nod and soon they are out a ways from the shore, and the man starts to talk. He preaches, kind of like you’ve heard in church, but instead of ending the service with a prayer and a song and heading off to the local buffet for lunch, that strange man tells the fishermen to drop their nets in to the water. Now, these fishermen were the ones who had been out all night and caught no fish. They tell this man that. They say, “Master, we’ve been out here all night, and in that time, we didn’t catch a thing. But we don’t have anything better to do, and you seem like a kind man, we’ll do it.” They drop their nets, and wonder of all wonders, it’s like the fish had a double latte for breakfast. As if they had swallowed jumping beans, they hop in to those nets, and there are so many that the net starts to break. Frantic, the fishermen call for their partners, those Zebede boys to come help. The men come to the aid of their friends and they all start piling the fish in to their boats. There are so many fish that the boats are beginning to sink. Simon is one of the fishermen, and he can’t believe what he has seen. He wonders aloud why this holy man would have anything to do with him. Simon tells him he is a sinful man. But, Jesus tells Simon not to be afraid, that from now on Simon will catch men rather than fish. Simon, as you would expect has no clue what Jesus means by that. All he knows is he wants whatever this man is offering. He rather likes hearing a cermon and being fed by the preacher, afterward. Sure beats waiting in line at the local lunch buffet. So, he brings his boat to land and leaves it there and follows Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt like Simon before. Toiled all night and when the morning comes feel like I have nothing to show for it. A sick child throwing up and having diarrhea every hour on the hour, only to have to do major clean up come daylight. A crying infant who isn’t satisfied unless I’m walking the floor, patting her back and singing while trying to be quiet so the man of the house and the other child won’t be awakened by my pacing and singing. Then, when morning comes have to get us all ready and go be an encouragement at church. I just wonder, after one of these nights, what would I say if Jesus asked me to do it all again? It is easy to say we would do it differently. It is easy to say we would do whatever the Lord wants us to do. Easy to say as long as we’re sitting in a patted church pugh, the furnace working overtime to keep us warm, the promise of a hot meal waiting on us at the local lunch buffet, the knowledge right before us that God will provide in abundance, just like he did for Simon with all those fish. And yet, Simon had no promises and still left everything to follow Him. Simon had a family to feed. His mother-in-law lived with him and his wife. He had responsibilities. All Simon knew was that if this Jesus could provide fish like that, all he, Simon needed to do was obey. Lord, may I be as faithful. **Taken from the book of Luke chapter 5**

1 comment:

  1. My comment is not about your post but the name of your blog. I had a fiddler friend in West Virginia, Melvin Wine, who past away some years ago. He often played the song "I'd Rather be an Old Time Christian" (an Albert Brumley original) and I'm planning to sing it in a few weeks at the 3rd Melvin Wine Memorial Concert. What I wanted to know was the definition of "old time christian"? He may have been a good life example of that. Any, anything you can tell about this expression would be most appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Carl Baron

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