Sometimes, when I take time to really listen to God as I read His word, I’ll find tidbits of wisdom that He speaks to my heart. I’m trying hard to be disciplined to write these things out - either for future articles in the “Connections” magazine from “Auntie Em”, or to share with friends to encourage them. This one is too long for the magazine; I may develop a point or two into an article down the road...but my space limitations inhibit me on sending in this article; so blogging it is!!
None of this is “rocket science”, and I’m sure many a better sermon have been taught on it, but these are my reflections - the things God spoke to MY heart. I hope it inspires you to get into the Bible and see what He will speak to your own heart...
1. Don’t just listen to what God says for us to do, but DO IT!
v6 “Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.”
So often we are inspired by scripture, but not do what He is prompting us to do. Frequently we hear an applicable sermon, but refuse to apply it to our own life (but we can be exceptionally good at finding things to share with other people, and follow through on that right away!). I think that it’s best if I listen with ears for me to hear, and let the Holy Spirit do the convicting to others; and then apply what He is asking me to change in my life - and let God do the changing in other’s lives.
2. Be willing to serve outside of your comfort zone
v12 ““Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish.”
I don’t know how I missed this point for so many years! Jesus cooked them breakfast (scriptures don’t mention anyone else on the shore with Him), and then served them. The fact that He served them doesn’t surprise me, He often served others. But to have cooked them a breakfast as they were returning from fishing - a little out of the ordinary. Sometimes we get stretched and grow by doing things we never thought of doing before. Cooking at a camp. Sitting with the elderly. Cleaning a mess dirtier than we could ever make. Going to a place (even another country) that we have never been before (where they might eat food we aren’t used to eating, smell differently than we do, and speak in a language we don’t understand!!) If we are willing to serve God whole heartedly, He will equip us to serve Him in ways we never imagined...and we might just like it. Even if we don’t, He will be growing us in new ways!
3. Loving God means feeding His sheep.
v17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
Sheep are messy, smelly and loud. Sometimes they are cute and cuddly, but like any new experience, that “honeymoon season” wears off fast! In order for us to show our love for Jesus, He expects us to get involved in ministry to others - the sheep. Which group of sheep has He called you to work with? Get to know them, and let them get to know YOU, the real you. The shepherd that doesn’t always have it all together, that has things go wrong in day to day life. I guarantee that you being you is one of the most valuable ways to let “the sheep” see how God is at work in your life, and it will give them courage to continue to walk with God through trials in their own lives.
The story isn’t finished!
verses 24,25 “This disciple is the one who testifies to these events and has recorded them here. And we know that his account of these things is accurate. Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.”
We need to be willing to share how God is at work in us, not just how He blessed us, but how we see Him continually at work. We need to be IN His word, the Bible, to KNOW how He has worked, and how He will work in lives today. The Bible is a historical book, passed on from generation to generation. So is our lives. How beautiful a story for us to be willing to share the story of “once I was lost, but then I was found...” and how God impacted our life. It doesn’t have to be a “bragimony” but an honest testimony that tells the story of our confession of our sins, and the ongoing work that He did in our life. Not only does it remind us that He is at work in us, but it can give someone hope that they are loved by Him too. Share your HIStory.