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Everyday Faith

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Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish

Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias.a It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.b 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”

11 Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. John 21:1-14 (NIV)[1]

When I was growing up, we had two kinds of clothes.  We had dress clothes and everyday clothes.  Dress clothes lasted longer than the others.  That of course was because we didn’t wear them so much – we weren’t allowed to wear them except on special occasions, and it seemed that they were for “less active” times.  Also it seemed to me that the “dressier” they were, the less comfortable they were.  My brother says that if God had intended for a man to wear a tie then he would have given them breathing apparatus somewhere other than their necks.  It’s sort of homespun wisdom that bears a degree of truth.  While we can “dress up” to show respect or to be “appropriate”, we can also dress to hide our true selves.  Generally speaking, if we look right, people assume that we are right and they don’t ask too many questions and that’s the way that we like it.  It’s one of those “techniques” that people can use to make themselves look better than they actually are.  The truth is that we are no more or less what we are and the way that we “cover” or present ourselves does not alter or change anything when it comes to the physical part of our lives.

I would have to say that I always felt more comfortable in my “everyday” clothes.  They were washed more often – they didn’t cost as much money back then at least, nobody peered to find an acceptable tag that made them a measure of the wearer – only superficiality does that – because remember that clothes don’t really change anything.  They tell you nothing – really – about the person inside of them or the person inside the person.

I always felt that everyday clothes were less pretentious.  I felt less conscious of myself when I had my everyday clothes on.  As a matter of fact, I love people who can bring that degree of ease to life.  People who are not intimidated by superficiality or dress or titles.  People who face each day with the same degree of faith and optimism and trust.  I would call them everyday people.

I think that Jesus was just that, an everyday person – not an ordinary person but an everyday person.  There was nothing ordinary about him but he had those everyday qualities.  Some people think that they are God and the very fact that they consider themselves to be so, makes others uncomfortable.  People like this introduce a tension to life that is miserable.  They think that they are irreplaceable or that no one else knows how to function quite right.  They are “taken with themselves” and their accomplishments.  Jesus  was God and the disciples didn’t know it.  There were times that he didn’t act like God.  Times like the foot washing thing in the upper room.  Times like the rage that drove the money changers from the temple.  He was unpretentious, deliberately and everyday guy.  And he was not impressed with pretension.  He saw right through it and refused to acknowledge it.  There’s no point in coming to him hoping that he’ll be impressed with your “good clothes”.  You see he’s looking for everyday people.

He chose everyday people.  Look at the kinds of people that he chooses.

- Moses stuttered.

-- David's armor didn't fit.

--- John Mark was rejected by Paul.

---- Hosea's wife was a prostitute.

----- Amos' only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.

------ Jacob was a liar.

------- David had an affair.

-------- Solomon was too rich.

--------- Abraham was too old.

---------- David was too young.

----------- Timothy had ulcers.

------------ Peter was afraid of death.

------------- Lazarus was dead.

-------------- John was self-righteous.

--------------- Jesus was too poor.

-------------- Naomi was a widow.

------------- Paul was a murderer. So was Moses.

------------ Jonah ran from God.

----------- Miriam was a gossip.

---------- Gideon and Thomas both doubted.

--------- Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.

-------- Elijah was burned out.

------- John the Baptist was a loudmouth.

------ Martha was a worry-wart.

----- Mary was lazy.

---- Samson had long hair.

--- Noah got drunk.

-- Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?

- So did Peter, Paul - well, lots of folks did.

But God doesn't require a job interview.

He doesn't hire and fire like most bosses,

because He's more our Dad than our Boss.

He doesn't look at financial gain or loss.

He's not prejudiced or partial,

not judging, grudging, sassy, or brassy,

not deaf to our cry,

not blind to our need.

As much as we try, God's gifts are free.

We could do wonderful things for wonderful people and still not be. . .


Satan says, "You're not worthy."

Jesus says, "So what?  I AM."

Satan looks back and sees our mistakes.

God looks back and sees the cross.

He doesn't calculate what you did in '78.  It's not even on the record.

Sure.  There are lots of reasons why God shouldn't want us.

But if we are magically in love with Him,

if we hunger for Him more than our next breath,

He'll use us in spite of who we are, where we've been, or what we look like.

- Max Lucado

1.   It was an Everyday Encounter.

We have a tendency to compartmentalize our lives.

In the scripture that we consider today, I have asked the Lord for a message for First Wesleyan Church.  I normally spend the first part of the week reading the portion that I plan to preach from, pondering it and researching what others have to say about it and searching for other resources for the message as well.

Repeatedly I have read an everyday story.  Jesus decides to visit his disciples while they are fishing.  He doesn’t ask them to stop so that he can preach a sermon to them.  I am not aware of any profound truth that he deliberately exegetes to them for the purposes of continuing discipleship.  He just meets them on the beach, he gives them some advice about fishing and then he cooks them breakfast.  And John records the incident that sticks in scripture above the multitudes of untold miracles and teachings of Jesus.  As a matter of fact, he says that it is written that you – that we might believe.

I have been reminded of how compartmentalized we tend to make our lives and in turn our faith.  Out of seven, twenty- four hour periods we highlight one Sunday morning service and elevate it as the dress up point of the week where we come before God in our “good clothes” to encounter Him and to experience His working - as though the other 6 days were empty and insignificant.  We come to this service, dressed in our “good clothes”.  Many times not wanting to be seen as “everyday” people.  In my opinion the most “fit” worshippers are everyday worshippers because we cannot do or offer Go what we do not do or experience everyday.

2.   It was an Everyday Exhortation

God’s direction still has to do with everyday living.

He gave them some advice on fishing.  Their best efforts as seasoned fishermen had failed.  They’d been at the job all night and their pride perhaps was gone or at the very least, they were too tired to argue so they took the advice of a carpenter.

His advice was not profound – bordering on simplistic.  It would have been much easier to sneer at the input and disregard it but they did what he told them to do.

6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

If we read the account as it is written, we see that these men were willing to follow this advice even before they knew who was giving it.

Jesus still talks to people about everyday things.  He talks to teachers about strategies to handle their most difficult students.  He speaks to investment consultants to give them wisdom as they act on behalf of their investors.  He speaks to doctors in their quiet desperation as they try to make life and health giving decisions.  He speaks to lawyers about the integrity that is required to truly honor God in a world of ethical complexity fueled by moral depravity.  He speaks to parents to tell them how to raise their children even though he never raised a son or daughter himself.

A huge part of what it means is that God’s interactions with you have primarily to do with “everyday” life.  He is an everyday God who speaks to everyday people about everyday things – every day.  Provided that we will listen that is.

You see, it’s in everyday living that He is most glorified.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)[2]

And I love this one – it’s a verse about life between Sundays – everyday life.

11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NIV)[3]

You see, we can dress up in our good clothes and make our way to church on Sunday and be blessed to tears.  But if we dress up in our “good clothes” our righteous rags, the Bible tells us that they are filthy in His sight.

But we are all like an unclean thing,  And all eour righteousnesses are like 2filthy rags; We all ffade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. Isaiah 64:6 (NKJV)7 [4]

3.   It was an Everyday Exercise

Learning to recognize the daily presence and Lordship of Christ is a daily decision.

Look at the response of the disciple/fishermen to this exhortation.

Ø      John the Beloved was the first to recognize Jesus

Ø      Peter as always was the first to rush to him.  It wasn’t the first time that he dove out of a boat to come to Christ.

Ø      Thomas, Nathaniel, James and John stayed on task and brought the fish to shore.

We are all so different – we respond differently to Christ when he comes to us in everyday life.  They represent three essentials of faith.  The ability to recognize the Master.  The desire to draw close to Him.  The faithfulness to do what needs to be done rather than abdicating in lieu of experience.

They shared the same reward in the final analysis.  A divinely prepared feast over an open fire.  How good does it get?

4.   Dress For Spiritual Success

So when we come before Him we are best dressed in our everyday clothes.  What do those look like?  How do we make God’s “best dressed” list?

Let’s look again to the scriptures.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17 (NIV)[5]

This is everyday wear for the Christian.  If you faithfully practice these indispensable spiritual virtues, you’ll be an everyday Christian.  Only everyday Christians can really worship Christ.  If these clothes hang in the spiritual closet 6 days a week and you pull them out fresh and pressed and wear them to church on Sundays they mean nothing.  You see, what you put on for an hour and a half on Sunday means nothing.  You’re just playing Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. Dressup.

People should recognize you by what you wear everyday.  Look at these qualities:

Ø      Compassion

Ø      Kindness

Ø      Humility

Ø      Gentleness

Ø      Patience

Sort of a convictional list isn’t it?  You see this is where the test of faith lies – not in what you do for a slice of time, but in what you do for all time.  I think that you ought to develop a reputation for these things if you really hope to represent Christ.

You see it’s no easier for one person than it is for the other.  People look at compassionate people and assume that because they act this way that it must be natural.  Like everyone else, these people have made a choice as to how they will respond to life.  They have made a choice before the test comes.

Steven Covey writes that between stimulus and response there is a space that distinguished man from animal.  That space is called “choice”.  In that space each of us has the choice as to how we will respond.  God challenges each of us to not allow our responses to be pre-determined by people who wrong us or circumstances that don’t favor us.  He challenges us to respond according to His direction – to fish on the right side of the boat no matter what your life-learned instincts tell you.  That choice is yours – to trust the instruction of an everyday God for everyday living, everyday – what will you do?


a  That is, Sea of Galilee

b  Greek about two hundred cubits (about 90 meters)

[1]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

[2]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

[3]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

e  [Phil. 3:9]

2  Lit. a filthy garment

f  Ps. 90:5, 6; Is. 1:30

[4]  The New King James Version. 1996, c1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[5]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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