Change Our Story
Change Our Story
When Jesus called the first disciples I’m not sure they knew what they were getting themselves in to. It was a life changing experience, moving from fishermen to disciples of the son of God. On it’s surface the call of Simon, James and John is straightforward. However, a closer look shows us that this was a life changing event for more than one reason. The call of Jesus on our lives forces us to change our story.
Scripture: Luke 5: 1-11
Change Our Story
If you are going to save the world you have to start somewhere. Today we are going to start with a story, a children’s tale if I’m honest. You all know the story, but perhaps there are a few new twists in it with this telling.
I want to tell you the story of the Three Little Pigs.
- Check Assumptions – Just as the disciples did when they didn’t ask what would a carpenter know about fishing.
- Change your Story – The disciples went from catching fish, to catching people.
- Create Communities of Inclusion – Jesus met with people from every strata of society. The disciples lived from a shared purse.
Fairy tales are stories of transformation, and that’s what happened to these simple people we call the disciples. If you took the disciples and brought them all together into one room, you would never in your wildest imagination guess by looking at them that this weak-looking pack of ordinary folks could change the world. But they did.
They left their assumptions at the door, they changed their story and they created a community of inclusion and care. They did all this when they decided to follow Jesus.
The disciples Jesus called to his side were unlikely figures. After all, anybody can have a bad day fishing. But you don’t expect professional fisherman to come up empty, yet the men who went on to become the first disciples seemed often to have this problem. If you wanted to find somebody to become a “fisher of people,” you might want at the very least to choose somebody who had proven to be a pretty successful fisher of fish! (reference).
If the means for changing the world are through humbleness and service, then it makes sense to start with the most humble people you can find.
That morning was one of those ‘aha’ moments that we can have in life. When our focus shifts and everything makes sense. A moment where you say or do something that changes your entire life. Imagine you are Simon Peter. You’ve been fishing all night, you’ve caught nothing. Now this either means Simon Peter is having a spat of bad luck on the water or that he’s a terrible fisherman. Still, he is the fisherman. Then comes this carpenter who gets on his boat and says, “Why don’t you put your nets down in the deep water?”
Now I don’t know anything about fishing, but Simon Peter must have known a little bit. You can hear the frustration in his voice, “If you say so, I will let down the nets.”
And there it is, the sentence that sealed Peter’s fate as a disciple of Jesus. “If you say so, I will let down the nets.”
That’s how Jesus operates. He shows up when we least expect it, often when we don’t want him to. He shows up when we’ve failed and when we’ve been beaten down. He doesn’t show up in those aspects of our life we’ve been successful at. He shows up in the midst of our vulnerability. He says, “Come, and follow me.” He invites us out into the deep water, into places we feel we have no business being. Places that are dangerous and frightening.
Jesus does this because he sees all our potential. Whereas we often see a potential that is limited by our present circumstances. The disciples don’t leave their life work because they are confident in their own abilities. The leave everything behind because they are confident in Jesus.
That morning after a frustrating night where they caught nothing, when their patience would have been worn out the disciples check their assumptions, which causes their story to change and results in a community of care and inclusion being created.
That’s what it means to be a follower of Christ. To stop assuming we know the answers and being willing to listen. To acknowledge that trusting God means our story changes because God is doing the leading. Finally, just as Jesus did, we must create communities that welcome all people with love and grace. Amen.
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Cobourg is part of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. The congregation was established in 1833 and continues to serve the community.