Meant for much more

meant for much more

 

Every Sunday, millions of people get up, get ready and attend church in their town or city. They arrive to the same building they’ve been attending for years, park in almost the same parking spot they’ve been parking in (unless you’re at a smaller church, then you’ve parked in the same spot). One can assume they sit in the same pew seat in the worship center, clap at the right times during worship, nod their heads at the right time during the message, and promptly leave after the last verse of the invitation. For millions of people every Sunday, this has become the routine. To them, this is what “going” to church has become…

I have to believe that when Jesus was explaining to the world what the kingdom of God would look like, this was the farthest idea he had in mind. Its hard for me to believe that Jesus wanted church to become a routine that church goers do 52 weeks in the year, once a week for a couple of hours. Church has become this mundane event that we plan to attend, yet while we’re there, we’re planning on lunch, naps, mowing the grass, hanging with friends, homework due the next day, agendas for work.

Church has become stale…
Church has become routine…
Church has become an afterthought…

Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost sight of the true nature of what church was suppose to mean to us. It seems as if church has become a country club for saints instead of a hospital for sinners. Churches are no longer relentless in their pursuit of those who are out of the mix, rather seeking the ones who are already attending other churches. They want their brand, their model, their view of how a church should operate to be in the forefront and not the passionate pursuit of those who are not connected to Christ. This disconnect from God is even seen in the ones who once were in church, but for one reason or another decided that they were done with this type of gathering.

Its a sad thing to walk around and see people out of their element. You look at them and know that if they would give themselves to God and allow him to connect, lead, and grow in their lives, the things they would be able to do for this kingdom would not be matched. As long as they stay disconnected from the creator, the creation does not flourish, it can not do what its meant to do or achieve what it was meant to achieve without direct connection to its creator.

Creator is the power source…
Creator is the life…
Creator is the sustaining one…

In the scriptures, the writer Matthew gives us a vision of what its like to live disconnected from the creator when we do not seek to be more than what we are currently. Matthew writes about four men, a pair of brothers, who at the time were fishing. As you’re reading the story, you’re wondering why the writer feels the need to tell us that the pair of brothers were fishing? What’s the point of letting us know that about them? What does fishing have to do with Jesus, God, spiritual things, or anything?

Lots of people fish…
Lots of people fish for fun…
Lots of people fish for a living…

In biblical times, everyone had to go thru scriptural training. Starting around the age of 5yrs, a boy would be sent off to the local temple to be taught the first five books of the bible. They would learn, meditate, and memorize the first five books, Genesis to Deuteronomy, memorized, word for word. At the conclusion of this stage, the boys would be around the age of ten or so. If they were really good at meditating and memorizing the first five books, then they would move on. Those that didn’t get it, or missed it by just a little, or didn’t really care about it would go on to learn their family’s business. Some would move on to learn more, most would go learn what their rest of their life would look like.

Learning the family’s business…
Learning the daily routine…
Learning the mundane…

For the ones who move on to learn more about the scriptures, they would then go one to learn, meditate, and memorize the rest of the Hebrew text. That’s Genesis to Malachi, some 900 or so pages of text. Not only would they do that, they would learn how to ask a question with another question, by this would be the only way a rabbi could determine if they were truly grasping what God was trying to say in the text. At the conclusion of this stage,  the boys would be around 15 yrs of age and only the best of the best would move on. If you were one of these boys at this stage, you would go to a rabbi and “apply” to be a disciple of rabbi “so and so.” If you weren’t one of the best from the best, you would go and learn your family’s business.

Learning the family model…
Learning the daily routine…
Learning the mundane…

If you made it to the “discipleship application,” you would seek out the rabbi you most aligned with. You would ask to be his disciple and train and learn under him. The rabbi would then begin to grill you with questions about the text, about the oral and written translation of scripture to see if you really understood what you believe and what you could teach. The rabbi was essentially trying to see if you could do what he does and if you could farther his message. If you didn’t quite get it, or wasn’t up to par where the rabbi wanted you, he would say something to the effect of, “I see that you love God and his word, but you do not fully understand it, go and learn your family’s business.

Go live the rest of your life in the ordinary…
Go live a life with no meaning…
Go live in the mundane…

However, if the rabbi felt that you could do what he does, if he felt that you could lead his followers and covert unbelievers to believers, if you could take his message to the world and have success, the rabbi would tell you…

Come follow me…

So when we come to the scene in Matthew, we see Jesus coming up on a pair of brothers. Matthew takes pain-staking effort to let us know they were fishing. They were following the daily routine they had since childhood. Life for them was waking up early, getting the nets prepared, sitting out on a boat all day, reeling in the fish, coming home and preparing to do this all again in the morning. Matthew wants us to see that they didn’t choose to live in the extraordinary, but the ordinary. I’m sure they had faith in God, faith in their creator, but they didn’t pursue the creator to the ends of the earth, they were content in how their life was going now.

Until Jesus showed them what they were meant to do. Jesus asking these brothers to follow them was significant in the fact that for some reasons, the rabbi’s in that day didn’t see the extraordinary in them, they didn’t see the bright future each would play in the overall restoration story of humanity. But, Jesus did! Jesus told them that if they followed him, they would not only be able to catch fish, they would be able to persuade men and women to follow them to the glory that is to come.

I’ve always wondering if it was as easy as Matthew tells us, that they just “let down their nets and followed Jesus?” One has to wonder if they contemplated what they were getting into, if they really understood what it was going to be like to follow this unknown person in accomplishing a mission not meant for this world? You have to wonder if they counted the cost of following Jesus?

Would they have to give up family?
Would they have to give up friends?
Would they have to give up familiarity?

When we accept the call to follow Jesus, we are essentially saying to Jesus, “I want my life in your hands.” We are giving total control of our spiritual path and literal path in life over to Jesus.

WE SHOULD EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED…

There is no routine to this journey. Everyday should be you allowing Jesus to lead and guide you. Every Sunday should be met with excitement and wonder with the gathering of  believers. The church shouldn’t be hoarding people, the church should be sending people. When Jesus called us out of the mundane and into the unknown, our entire lives should reflect that. We were meant for much more than the 8-5 jobs, the school, sports, homework, hangout, bedtime, do it all over again life.

We were meant for a life of glory, a life spent in connection with our creator, our maker, the one who desires to be in relation with us. We were meant for much more in this life and the life to come. We must allow Jesus to come in our life and whisk us away from the ordinary into the extraordinary. The disciples were just fishing their life away until Jesus arrived and gave them purpose, reason, and a sense of renewed life.

We worship Jesus because he took the cross instead of us, he took our shame that was in result of our sin and restored to us a life worth living in him, for him, thru him.

May you search for purpose…
May you search for reason…
May you search for more than this…
May you search out of the ordinary into extraordinary…
May you know you were meant for glory…
May you know deep down, from creator to creation, you were meant for much more in Jesus.

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