Sermon Ideas For Luke 5:1-11 Part 4
Several years ago, two land surveyors were sent from a large city in Wales to survey the mountains in North Wales. They stayed for a week at an isolated shepherd's cottage. During the day they climbed the steep slopes, charting the contours, checking the landmarks, and tracing the mountain streams to their sources. Each night they returned to the cottage. Near the end of the week, just before retiring for the night, the old shepherd suggested he might accompany them on the mountain the next day. "There's no need," the confident men of the city replied. "We can't possibly get lost. We have our compass, our charts, and the maps." "I'd better come with you," the old shepherd insisted. "There's really no need," they replied again. "The map will bring us home." "But," the old man persisted, "I know the mountain tracks like the back of my hand. I know where the steep precipices are. I know where the bog runs deep. I know where the bracken covers the crevices." "It's all on the map," repeated the city men. "The map will bring us home." The old man was quiet for a moment and then spoke once more: "You may have the map, but the fog isn't on the map."
This seashore event challenges a commonly held assumption. Peter was a professional fisherman being directed in his efforts by a village carpenter. Peter knew this lake. He knew how to fish it. Jesus was an exciting teacher about God, but he was a small town builder. Peter knew the realities of the sea. He assumed he was better qualified to direct the fishing effort. Yet, when he submitted to the direction of Jesus, the results were far beyond anything he could have expected.
We think Jesus is a great help for "spiritual matters" but irrelevant for other life issues. We compartmentalize our lives. For our jobs, we rely on company policy and procedures; for our family life, we utilize sociology and psychology; for national issues, we rely on politics; for world issues, we rely on diplomacy; for finances, we rely on economics. Oh yes, for spiritual matters, we bring in Jesus.
We think we know how to live in the real world. After all we are the ones who have to live here. Many of us are confident of our abilities to handle the realities of this life.
In the Spring of 1978, the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films presented their annual awards. One of the winners was the film, Oh God!, which is based on the assumption that God is real and wants people to love one another. It was designated the "Best Fantasy Film of the Year." Unfortunately, even those who are called Christian may consider it a fantasy really to let God direct our lives. But then someone really submits to the direction of Jesus and finds a way of living beyond anything that could be expected.
Simon had used his own experience and skills—but had caught no fish. Willing to submit to the guidance of this traveling rabbi from Nazareth, he made an abundant catch. Those today who are willing to organize their lives on the basis of the teaching and guidance of Jesus will live a different way in their society. Their values and priorities will be different. Stanley Hauerwas has called such people "resident aliens."
Living as a resident alien in American culture is not easy. Quite the opposite. But those who commit to such a course are not without resources. Jesus lived such a "different" life. He did so because of the presence and power of God in his life. His call then, his call today is to "follow him." Thus, this life of resident aliency is a life patterned after his. People today who accept his call follow his example of faithfulness to the ways of God, not the ways of society or culture, or "the world." The power for this different life today is the power Jesus had—the Spirit of God.
To "follow Jesus" is to leave everything behind. The tendency is to think of giving up possessions, or relationships, or careers. While it may mean that, more likely, it means giving up all the values, priorities, standards, and commitments that would supplant, or supplement, or distort those of Jesus.
The call of Jesus today can be misconstrued as a call to an institution, or a set of beliefs. Certainly the call of Jesus includes teaching and involvement in the church. But at its core, the call from Jesus is to a person. It is a relationship to him. This relationship to Jesus becomes central to all life. It is not a compartment, not a segment, of life. It is comprehensive. It includes the spiritual and the material. It includes faith and secular. It includes worship and work. It includes everything.