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Just when we think we know what we our purpose in life is, Jesus tells us otherwise. It is through our Lord Jesus Christ that we become repurposed for the Kingdom.

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Focus Statement

Just when we think we know what we our purpose in life is, Jesus tells us otherwise.
It is through our Lord Jesus Christ that we become repurposed for the Kingdom.

Point of Relation

I recently watched a film in the theater called “American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story”
I would be Captain Obvious if I told you who the story is about...
And I would also presume that most, if not all of you, know exactly who Kurt Warner is.
Why? Because he is an NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback, widely regarded as the greatest undrafted Quarterback of all time!
That’s right, he’s one of the G.O.A.T.s, the Greatest of all Time club.
But his story did not start there.
Sure he was a star high school and college quarterback...
but went to a small college and got overlooked by the NFL.
Then he tried to walk on and try out for the Green Bay Packers...
But was thrown out of try outs at the end of the first day because the coach said, “he wasn’t ready.”
Anyway, prior to that tryout, he had met a girl at a line-dancing, country bar and he began dancing with her.
While they danced she said to him, “You don’t look like a cowboy.”
“I’m not,” Kurt responded
“Well,” Brenda inquired, “What are you?”
Kurt responded bluntly, “I’m a football player.”
As it turned out at the time, that was all Kurt could identify as, a football player...
and as the film went on, he learns that having a one-dimensional identity can be deadly...
to one’s career…and to one’s life as a whole.

Things to Consider

We spend years learning and even creating our identity.
It also goes without saying that a part of our identity is what we do for a living or for hobbies.
In fact, that becomes for many the dominant personal identifier...
Because it is an easy, quick go-to when people ask us to tell them about ourselves.
For instance, if someone asks me who I am...
I rarely lead with,
“Oh me, I am a sensitive, compassionate human being who longs to be accepted by people and to fit in.”
Nor do I lead with,
“Well I am a person who seeks to live a significant life by helping others and being a positive and changing force in the world around me.”
Instead, you will probably hear me say...
“Oh, who me? Well, I am a United Methodist Pastor serving at First United Methodist Church in Newton.”
We so often lead with what we do to describe who we are...
Then we might mention who we belong to...
For instance, I might say “I’m happily married with 2 adult children…and my wife and I love to travel.”
Those are all things that are true about me, but they don’t really reveal who I truly am to you.
Why do you think we find it so challenging to talk about our identity and our purpose for living?
Truthfully, I believe it is because many people do not know their purpose...
Because they have been tuning in to all the wrong sources...
The world tells them they need to be brave, bold, successful, thin, happy, and on and on and on...
But none of those things are truly reachable in this world...
A part from Jesus...
And Jesus wants to lead you to different pastures altogether.

What Scripture Says

In our Scripture today, we find Simon is in the same boat as the rest of us…PUN TOTALLY INTENDED...
He doesn’t know anything about himself other than his occupations...
And his family.
When Jesus first approaches and meets him...
Simon was tired, irritable, and wanting to go home, clean up, and crash!
He had spent the entire night fishing in all of the right spots…and came up EMPTY.
If nights like this continued, Simon might not be able to provide for his family.
What we have here is a person in a career rut of sorts...
Worse than that…he was taught the fishing trade from his father, who was taught by his father and so on and so forth...
This is all Simon knew…it was the only skill set he had...
And careers didn’t just pop up in the ancient world the way they do today.
Your career path…your vocation…was chosen for you.
That was your purpose…that was what you were meant to be...
That is what your family and your village depended on you becoming.
But back to Simon…he wasn’t able to catch any fish...
and you get the sense from Simon’s demeanor that this has probably been the case before.
And in comes this lofty preacher guy named Jesus, a carpenter by trade, telling Simon how to do his job.
And that is true about Jesus, isn’t it?
He shows up in our lives and interrupts our plans and self-perceptions.
He points us to something deeper within us…
a purpose that has been their from the start..
And in order to reach that purpose, WE HAVE TO CHANGE COURSE.
So, this Jesus tells Simon to go deeper and let his nets down...
which causes Simon protest...
“Like, hello…earth to Jesus…we’ve been out here all night and haven’t caught annything.”
I imagine Simon pausing here with a bit of smirk...
“But hey, if you say so...”
What started off with Simon’s bitter cynicism became Simon’s utter disbelief.
As the ship began to sink under the weight of all the fish...
SImon realized how sinful…how unworthy he was…and he REPENTED...
Which is the first step to CHANGING COURSE...
recognizing we’ve been heading the wrong direction.
Jesus interrupted Simon’s preconceptions with the miracle…and then REPURPOSED Simon...
The very skills needed for persistent fishing...
SIMON, who would go on to be called PETER, would use to bring people to know Jesus...
Instead of a fisherman…Jesus would become a fisher of people.

What This Means for You

How is it that you’ve been identifying yourself?
Do you know who you are, as opposed to what you do?
Christ wants us all to see our own value as beloved children of God.
Is your identity in alignment with how God identifies you?
And how goes it with your soul
As John Wesely would ask?
How is your relationship with Jesus?
Do you have a relationship with him?
Perhaps you do, but you’ve fallen away from being close with him.
Or perhaps you’re not sure you ever did have one…or maybe you don’t have a relationship with our Lord.

What This Means For Us

I want to use the rest of my time here to invite you to reflect on your relationship with Jesus.
Without a relationship…without putting our trust in Jesus...
We will never be open to being repurposed for the Kingdom.
Take time where you are…
or, if you are here in person, and so desire, you can come up to the altar rail and pray there.
I will invite Christie/Henry to play music…
Take as long as the Holy Spirit leads you to take
and really connect with Jesus who here with us…
right now…we we sit here today.
Friends, your relationship with Christ is so important...
I pray we all, myself inculded, get repurposed for His will and His will alone. Amen? Amen.
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