Summary: Peter's sifting was no match for Jesus' prayer. God's plan is for His people to always overcome every trial and every test that the devil can send against us.
Down But Never Out
Sunday a.m., January 31, 2010
By Pastor James May
This has been a week that I will long remember. There are some things that come along in life that will tend to stretch, bend, twist and break your faith. For the Reed Family in particular, this has been one of those weeks. Our church has been dealt a heart- breaking blow this morning and we mourn the loss of our dear brother and friend, Mike Reed. We don’t mourn for him; for he is with the Lord today, but we mourn for ourselves, for we are left here on this earthly plane for a time, to continue on in our work and service to God until that day shall come when each of us; and all of us, will one day be where Mike is today along with many of our other brothers, sisters and loved ones.
As I was thinking about the events of this past week, and all of the grief, pain and heartache that so many have faced, I began to think of how much God had been with all of us every step of the way. In my time of study I was led by the Spirit to read again the account of Jesus’ final day on this earth before he was crucified. One part of the story seemed to impress me in a manner that it had not done so before. As I read it, the Lord began to speak to my heart and say that this was His message for His people for this day and so I will attempt to bring that message to you if God will give me the words to speak.
When Jesus walked the shores of Galilee at the beginning of his earthly ministry, he was searching among the sea of humanity to find 12 very specific men. He knew who he was looking for and he knew exactly where to find each one of them. In his choices he wanted to have men who were hard workers; men who would sell out to a cause if they saw the value in that cause; and men who were not afraid to risk everything to accomplish a task that was laid before them.
Thus it was, as Jesus walked along the seashore that he came upon two brothers who were working in the hot sun, cleaning their fishing nets. They were strong, boisterous young men who worked in a family operated commercial fishing business. Jesus found Simon Peter and his brother, Andrew. He called them by name; speaking to them as though he had known them all of their lives.
This was an unfamiliar voice that Peter and Andrew heard. And yet, though they knew not the man, there was something very familiar at the same time. Something in the voice of this stranger that stood before them affected them like no other had done before. In this voice there was authority; there was love; there was compassion; there was a drawing and pulling on the hearts of these fishermen that they had never felt before. It was as though the call to follow Jesus was irresistible; and yet they could resist if they chose to. They could just keep on fishing; ignoring the call of the Lord to follow him; and they would have spent the rest of their days wondering what could have been.
Thank God they did not resist that call, but stepped out; dropping their nets at their feet. I’ve often wondered what their father, Zebedee, thought about his two sons running off without warning and leaving him to run the fishing business alone, but then I’m sure that there were always people around looking for work who could keep up the fishing business. But there was only one Peter, and one Andrew, who could answer the call of God to become Disciples of Christ.
As I was writing this early this morning I could not help but think of Brother Mike. He was a man who loved to fish and loved the water. Like Peter, Mike was big and tough and didn’t back down from anything or anybody. He was a fighter and a hard worker. But one day Jesus came by and called Mike by name; and like Peter, he laid down his plans; laid aside the weights of this world that would hold him back, and then stepped out to follow the Lord as his disciple.
Looking out over this congregation this morning, I see a lot of disciples that Jesus has called out by name. Most of you were like Peter and Andrew, hard working and honest, and you had your life pretty well planned out. Maybe it was a family business that you were just going to carry on. Wherever Jesus found you, and whatever you were doing with your life; you heard his voice call you by name.