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“Setting It Aside”

Sermon: “Setting It Aside”

Rev. Glenn G. Grant

Kirkridge Presbyterian Church

Transcription from February 6, 2022

Sermon transcription is automatically generated. Please forgive any grammatical errors.

We have to think about what's going on and the gospel story today. And I know this is a familiar story for everybody sitting here. You've all heard it before. And this is the call of Simon and of James and John. And there's much going on here.

First of all, Jesus is walking along the shoreline. He's being followed by crowds. He's already gotten a reputation to that point and he comes along and these guys have been fishing all night and are cleaning their nets. And Jesus gets into Simon's boat and says, push out a little bit. Now as professional fishermen I’m sure that they really appreciated that. Yeah. They'd been out all night long to do what they needed to do to support their families, doing what they grown up doing, probably helping their dads out in those same boats. And here this itinerant preacher comes along and tells them how to do their job. I can just see how that would've gone over. I it'd be like me walking into GM and telling one of the engineers how to design a car.

Not working. So I'm trying to think what is in the minds of these fishermen when Jesus not only sits down in the boat. And started teaching, but then when he's done tells them, okay, now let's go out into deeper water and let your nets down. Jesus, we fished all night. We're tired. You interrupted as cleaning our nets that's enough.

And yet they do so. And of course the recording is this miraculous catch a fish that so many it's about to sink their boats. Well, that's great. At least they've gotten something out of doing what this itinerant preacher told them. They should have a good catch to take to market, and it should be able to feed their families for a few days. Wonderful. And that's where most of us stop the story because you know, here's this miraculous catch. oh Jesus performed his miracle! And we stopped paying attention to the story at that point, but that's really where the story begins, because they get the fish to shore and they haul the nets in and Jesus says, put down your nets and follow me.

Put down your nets and follow me. What is he asking them to do? You know, there are a lot of times in our life where Jesus asked us to do things and we probably would be an awful lot like Simon, James and John, Andrew. And say, what do you mean put down? Yes. Leave our nets, leave our boats. What are you talking about? We can't just walk away from this. How are we going to provide for our families?

And yet the scriptures report that that's exactly what they do.

And I often think about what in our lives we might be asked to set aside in order to do what God wants us to do. You know, we have a lot of things going on in our lives. Busy-ness uh, I was going to talk to her young people about, you know, what it was like if they were busy in a game, deeply involved in it.

And their parents came in and said, put that aside, get in the car we're leaving and how willing they would be to, oh, can’t I finish my game?

And none of us can remember our childhood. We would have done the same thing. Or maybe we do remember our childhood when we would have done the same thing. It's just that it wouldn't have been one of these games (mimes playing video game). It may have been our imagination game. It may have been a game of monopoly with our siblings or with friends.

And I can just imagine leave, your game of monopoly. I know what my kids would have done if I had suggested they leave the game of monopoly so we could do something… “we haven't finished yet.” And you may not finish.

So here are Peter, Simon Peter and Andrew and James and John. And Jesus says, set aside what you're doing, set it aside, and I'm going to take you and I'm going to, you're still going to be fishing, but you're going to be fishing for souls instead of, for fish.

We can't set aside our daily schedules.I know for some of us, it's a little easier. Because, maybe we're retired, but we still have our daily routines and heaven forbid something upsets that. I remember as a very, very young child going after, well, maybe it was actually a preschool program, but I remember that the person whose house we were staying in at one o'clock we had to, it was nap time, or at least we had to be quiet and still, because her soap was on.

Her soap was on and heaven forbid anything would happen to make it so she couldn’t watch her soap at one o'clock in the afternoon. Some people it's that way for wheel of fortune or for jeopardy or whatever it is.

When we look back in the DC area, the church that Debbie and I went to, heaven forbid the worship service went past 11:30 during football season, because half the congregation had season tickets to the red skins and if they didn't leave the church at 11:30. They could not be in their seats for kickoff.

Heaven forbid something would come up to interfere with their plans and their schedule. And yet they were in church on Sunday morning where God may be asking them to do something else.

Now, a different piece of this puzzle is what we do as congregations. Does anybody know of any congregation out there that doesn't have the goal of bringing in more families and growing?

I can tell you over the last several years, I've had way too much time where I'm reading ministry information forms for churches that are looking for new pastors. And every one of them says that they want to grow and reach new people. And three quarters of them say that they're looking for a pastor to do that.

Do you catch the problem there? They want to grow, but they want the pastor to do it.

This is Peter and James and John and Andrew saying to Jesus. Well, that's all fine and dandy, but you catch the souls. You catch the souls. We'll stay here with what we know. I can just imagine how that would have gone over.

Has anyone here ever told God what they didn't want to do?

I know that, you know, long time ago I told God that I wanted to get out of a six day a week job. Why are you laughing, Laurie?

I also remember coming out of high school. That is somebody asked me what I wanted to do for a living. I'd say anything, but be a salesman. So what did I do after I finished college, 16 years of retail sales,

You know, when we tell God what we don't want to do, we get in trouble. So I can just imagine what it would have been like. If Simon, Peter and Andrew and James and John had said to Jesus, uh, no, we're going to stay here with our boats. I think God would have found another way of getting their attention.

So that brings really a us down to one thing. And that is what is it in our lives that we need to be willing to set aside when God calls upon us to do something. What are those things in our lives that we really aren't willing to set aside if God calls us to do something, because those are the parts of our lives that we really need to focus on and work on. If there is something that you are unwilling to set aside for God, then you’ve broken the first commandment Thou shall have no other gods before me, because if you're unwilling to set it aside, that's your God.

And what are those things that we, if we are willing to set things aside, we need to look at our lives and say, what right now might God be calling me to set aside? What is keeping me from doing what God may be wanting me to do? Is it that I am, I have used the excuse of I'm getting on in years and I've done my time and I just don't want to do it anymore.

Is it that my family needs my full attention and I don't have time.

What is it that God is calling us to be willing to set aside and follow Jesus? And that's something that isn't just a one-time answer because it's something that we have to answer day in and day out, every day of our lives. There's always something competing for our attention, with what God would have us be doing. Always it's the way the world works.

Right now. It may be that you really want to know what's going on in the Olympics. And maybe you really want to watch that event that is only being broadcast three times over the next 24 hours. And it's interfering with what God is asking you to do.

Maybe it's oh, I really want to sleep. I really want to sleep in. This is my one chance, is that interfering with what God wants you to do? Does that need to be set aside? You know, we have all these little distractions. If we can't set aside the little distractions, how can we ever hope to get to the level of Simon, Andrew, James and John that set, not just little distractions, but their way of life.

Now we know that they didn't totally give up fishing because later on after Jesus' crucifixion, we know that they went back to fishing at least temporarily, but they set it aside. To do what Christ was calling them to do.

And as folks that want to count ourselves as being disciples, we are called to do nothing less. We are called to set aside things that interfere with doing what God wants us to do. We are called to set aside things to keep us from following Jesus. The question is, is do we recognize it when it happens and are we willing to set it aside

Yesterday We had a whole lot of people that were here for a Memorial service and set aside, whatever else had been on their schedules for the day, we do it for that. Do we do it for God? Let us pray…

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