Monday, October 1, 2018

A Matter of Convenience?

Would I have followed? Would I have allowed my day to be interrupted in such a life-altering way? Would I have given even an hour of my time?

The setting was the shore of Gennesaret (Sea of Galilee), and it was the morning following an evening of intense but fruitless labor. Simon and his partners were wrapping up their disappointing night of work to head home,  empty . . . without the catch that fed their families.

You would have to think that they were tired, frustrated, and perhaps worried about the welfare of their families in the face of a night of failure. You would have to think that these men longed to leave the shore far behind and return to the comforts and security of their homes. You’d have to think that Simon and his friends were now ready to do what most do at the end of long and frustrating days. Was the local “Cheers” to be their next stop? Did the barcalounger beckon? Was there a tee time to meet? Was the Harley ready to be fired up?

But then he came. Jesus came. And scores of people were in his wake. And he needed a platform . . . a boat, to be used as a speaker’s dais, from which he could be removed from the crowd, but heard and seen by all.

We don’t know the thoughts of Simon, at this point. Perhaps he was glad for the diversion from the failure of his night’s work. Perhaps he was eager to put the nets down and hear from the man who had recently healed his mother-in-law. Perhaps, though, his thoughts were a lot like our own when our time is co-opted by something that takes us off task, or away from the rest we desperately crave.

Would I have opted to sit through a sermon after enduring a long and disappointing night of labor? I wonder. And what of you?

The attendance in our Sunday church services might give us a clue about our behavior in that moment. Perhaps we’re talking apples and oranges, but I see to many people who are quick to spurn a gathering of the church for may other things. And those absences are with a good night’s rest enjoyed beforehand. Simon and his partners opted to hear Jesus after their long night of labor. His words became their priority and not their plans for rest. The schedule for their day became quickly altered when Jesus showed up.

Am I overly cynical to say that we have made our faith too often a matter of convenience? Am I too judging to say that we have relegated meeting with our church family to the bottom of our list of priorities? As long as it doesn’t interfere with our work, our fun, and our rest, we will be there. Is this how we do things?

Simon dropped his nets three times in Luke 5.1-11. Once, when Jesus began to speak, he dropped the nets he was mending and listened to the word of God. Then, he dropped his nets again, at the insistence of Jesus; and, following a fruitless night of labor, he brought in a great catch. And third, he dropped his nets to follow Jesus, to give his all, to follow without reservation . . . to give his life to the One who would give His life for all.

Would I have done the same? Have I done the same? Am I partner of Simon in the faith and devotion he showed to Jesus?

It is a question of priorities. What is most important to me? What is most important to you? What you give your time to is an indication. What you give your resources to is an indication. What you prioritize clearly shows who you are and whose you are.

Would you have stayed to listen to Jesus after a long and fruitless night of labor?

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