Faith, Obedience and Humility

When it comes to the work of Christ and His Church, we are expected not to put our trust in our own understanding. Instead we are expected to have faith the Christ knows what He is asking us to do, we are expected to be obedient to Christ, and to have humility when Christ reveals the great results He always knew was in store for us. Christ already knows what He wants us to accomplish when He sends us out into the deep unknown. It is up to us to have faith, be obedient and humble, three Great Characteristics of our Christian Journey, so that Christ can be glorified.

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Thank you for tuning in to another episode of Be Transfigured, where we invite you to live a new life in Christ. We pray that this episode is a blessing to you and will inspire you to rededicate your life to Jesus Christ. We invite you to join us for worship or study at the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Tarpon Springs, Florida, where visitors are always welcome. We'll be back in a few moments to share some more information about our ministry.

I wanted to share a story with you all this morning. Several years back, I was on a fishing trip with my father. We were in a big Lake and we had one of those fish finders, that little thing that beeps when the fish are under your boat. And so we're sitting there and we're there all day long and we kept hearing beep, beep, beep, beep and we didn't catch one single fish. So finally my dad says, "Turn the machine off."

"Why?" He says, "If I'm not going to catch them, I don't want to know they're down there to begin with, so just turn the machine off. I'd rather just think there's no fish in the water." Being the obedient son that I am, I turned the machine off. Wouldn't you know we caught a fish. We didn't catch many, but we did catch a fish without that stupid little machine beeping all day long. Sometimes it just takes our mind off of things to go out and fish. We have the peace and quiet of being out in the water. We have the fellowship of the people we're with.

But this morning's gospel is not quite about a peaceful day of fishing. It's about something much greater. To set the tone, we have a professional fisherman. Now, professional meaning they knew where the fish were, they knew how to catch them, and in this case, if they had come back after an entire night of fishing and hadn't caught one fish, that means there were no fish there to catch. These were professionals. They knew where the fish were and they had spent all night catching not one single fish, and then as they were mending their nets in the morning, along comes Christ and this giant crowd is pressing up about him. They're just gathering. We can imagine a huge crowd. And so Christ turns to Peter. He says, "Give me one of your boats. Just push it out just a little bit. I'm going to get there and I'm going to teach the people."

And as he sat down, he taught the multitude that says here in the scriptures, and when he stopped speaking, he said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." Now at this moment, Simon, who we know is Saint Peter has a decision to make. Does he trust in his own logic or does he put his faith in Jesus Christ? You see my brothers and sisters, we're faced with that very same decision every day, whether we're out fishing or not, we are faced with the simple question, do we trust our own understanding or do we place our faith in Jesus Christ? And the most difficult opportunities we have is when we are expecting the unknown. When we're going out, as it says here, out into the deep.

But Simon was obedient to Christ. He put his trust in Christ and so many fish that two boats were about to sink, they had caught such a great amount of fish. And what was his response in this? This, my brothers and sisters as something key for us in our own spiritual journey, it says here in the gospel, "When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man. Oh Lord."" At that moment, he recognized the power that was standing in front of him was the God of the universe. At that moment, he was face to face with the all powerful, all knowing, all merciful God. And most of us, I suspect would say, "Thank you God, we've been working all that long, finally we catch some fish." Instead, a pure example of Christian humility, "Depart from me, I'm not worthy of this great gift you've given me, God. I know how to fish. Okay, I had a bad day. Depart from me God, I am sinful." And Christ turns to him and he says, and from now on, he says, "Do not be afraid."

Yes. As if to say, "Yes, I am the creator. Yes, I am the all powerful God, but do not be afraid. From now on, you will be catching men," it says here. They brought their boats to the land and they left everything behind and followed Christ. Faith, obedience and humility. Three great characteristics of our Christian journey. My brothers and sisters, we go through life and most of us, especially within our professions, but even beyond our professions, most of us know and we trust our way of doing things. We know because it's worked so far, it may not always work, but for the most part, our way has always been successful and so we have to now change the way we look at things. And instead of putting faith in our way of life and in our logic, we have to put faith that God knows what he's talking about. He knows where he is sending us, he knows what he is asking us to do and he will help us accomplish it.

Obedience. Obedience is something of especially that we as contemporary Americans are not crazy about. We don't like being obedient. We like doing things when we want them, how we want them, no matter when we want them and any one and anything that gets in our way, we shove aside. However, in the example of this morning's gospel, it wasn't until Peter was able to be obedient to God and trust that God knew what was going on. Then he accomplished greatness. Then he was able to bring in a great number of fish and that pure Christian humility that beyond all things we must search for in our hearts. We must wake up every day and acknowledge, not in a self defeating way, but in a beautiful loving way. We must acknowledge that we are sinners and that we have work to do and that God has a greater plan for us. My brothers and sisters, when we embrace these three standards, faith, obedience and humility, there'll be nothing stopping the great things that we accomplished for the glory of God. Not for our glory, not so that we can pat ourselves on the back, but so that Christ's church is filled. We are called, my brothers and sisters, to go out and catch the men and women and children and friends and strangers and neighbors.

We are called to go catch them for Christ. We are called to go bring them in for Christ and we might be tempted. Well God, we've tried before. We've tried to invite our friends before. We've tried to reach out before and we've come up empty handed, just like this morning's gospel. So we can either trust in our own way or trust that God knows where he's sending us and he's sending us, my brothers and sisters, right back out those doors this morning into the unknown, into the deep to let down our nets and catch the people that Christ knows are there waiting to come inside. We don't have to chase them. We don't have to put the little machine on the boat. God knows where his people are.

We just have to trust that he's sending us to go get them. We just have to be obedient to his call for us to go. And then by God's grace, when our church is filled to capacity, so that about to burst at the seams, we don't pat ourselves on the back, but we acknowledge that God has done great things for us. We are another example of sinful men and women that God will use for his glory. Glory to God, for all things.

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