During our lifetime here on earth, we all want to be part of
a group. Whether we're young or old, we all have a need to "fit" in...to be
accepted...to be liked, wanted and needed.
When we are young, we join sport groups, like soccer and football...clubs
like the ski club, science club, Spanish club, etc. When we get older and begin our jobs and
careers we join social clubs, health clubs, or any other type of club or group
you can think of...just to be part of "the group". When we reach the "golden years" we join the
senior citizen groups. It all boils down to the fact that human beings want to
be accepted...want to feel a part of something...want to be a part of
something.What that "part of something" is should matter.
Many times, especially in today's society,
belonging to something is not what we would consider "right". Even though we are individuals, and want to
express ourselves as individuals, we, for the most part, go along with the
crowd. How many of us really dress any
differently than the next person? How
many of us are totally independent of what the business and commercial world of
advertising makes us? The influence of
the media and the criminal world in our society does not let us or our children
easily become the people God intended us to become. How many of our young children have given in
to alcohol and drugs just to "fit in"...to be part of the "group"? We want to be individuals, but we wear the
same clothes everyone else does, we listen to the same music (if you could call
it that now a days), we follow every fad and fashion that comes along, just to
feel like we belong! But when it comes
down to our real individuality, down to our real personality, down to our real
spirituality...we, for the most part, back off and do not feel comfortable
standing out from the crowd!!
I will put myself out on a limb here...I do not
think, that most of us are very secure or comfortable in the roles we have to
play in the world in which we live...I think that most of the time we would
rather pursue the things in life that fulfill our spiritual needs. There is an emptiness in what the world and
our society has to offer, that if we really thought about it, cannot be filled
by what it has to offer...to conform, to follow, to blend in...in other words, to
"sell" ourselves... for what?
pleasures of this world pass away in one moment...Does it matter then what "group" we have followed? In your circle of friends, your workplace,
your school...it may not be "cool" (or whatever the word is today), to be a part
of the only "group" worth following...not only in this life, but in the life to
come. That group is being an active
Christian in thought, word and deed.
Being a Christian, in most peoples' daily lives, does not take the
spotlight. Anything "BUT" following the teachings of Jesus Christ, has become
the norm from Monday thru Saturday and for the most part on Sunday after
Church...sometimes even before and during church.
Where are our priorities in life?
Do we foolishly follow others who have no direction or purpose or
spirituality? Do we blindly follow our
own foolish desires and wants with no ultimate goal in mind...especially that of
our eternal salvation? Do we only choose
to turn to Jesus Christ when we realize that there is no one else we should
really follow? That would be good, if
you have the opportunity and the chance to do so...but oftentimes, we do not! Death is a stranger to no one!! But we need to realize that we are not alone
and that we have been chosen in this life and in the life to come.
In this life we are a part of a group...we
are Christians ...and in the life to come we will be one with our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ. Do we choose Satan, or
Christ who has chosen us?Christ chose simple fishermen like Peter, James and
John who confessed their sinfulness to Him.
They confessed, He called and they followed. We too are chosen and called by Christ to
follow Him. But do we realize or
recognize our sinfulness as did Peter and the others? Are our eyes, minds and hearts open to what
Christ is offering us? Do we confess our
sinfulness and follow Him or are we still blinded by what Satan and the world
has to offer? How often in our own lives
do we feel that we are at the end of our rope?
That we are up against obstacles that we cannot overcome?
When Simon Peter felt at the end of his rope
after failing to bring in a catch of fish, he did not give up...he put his faith
in Jesus and at His Word, a miracle occurred that changed the lives of those
simple fishermen, changing them into fishers of men. The scripture says that when Simon Peter saw
this, the miracle, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I
am a sinful man!" We too, like Peter are
sinful men and women and by our actions and words we say the same thing to
Jesus...Go away from me Lord! Sometimes we
do this because we fear God and are ashamed of our sinfulness as probably Peter
and his companions were. But most likely
we push the Lord away because we do not want to change our sinful ways and
would rather continue doing them because, for some odd reason, we may enjoy the
sin, even though we know it is wrong.
Sin becomes the obstacle to our faith in God and because we do not have
faith, miracles do not happen in our lives.
When we are self-centered and think only about ourselves, there is no
possibility of change for the better in our lives. However, when Peter and His companions
recognized their sinfulness, humbled themselves before the Lord Jesus Christ,
gave up their selfishness and self-centeredness, Jesus calmed them by saying,
"Do not be afraid." We too, are often
afraid...afraid of change, afraid of hurt, afraid of the unknown, afraid to let
go of things and ideals we find comfortable, afraid to challenge, afraid to, as
in a very popular saying, "to let go and let Jesus."
If we are constantly afraid of change for the
better in our life, how can we then say we have faith in God? We are sometimes only willing to go so
far...only to a certain point where we feel comfortable and then we stop! We don't take that last step of total faith
in what our Lord has promised for us.
am reminded of a story of a man that was lost in the desert and was near death
for lack of water. Soon he came across a
pump with a canteen hung on the handle and a note. The note read as follows: "Below you is all
the fresh water you could ever need, and the canteen contains exactly enough
water to prime the pump." It takes
great faith to pour out the whole contents of the canteen for a promise of
unlimited water. What would you do?
In the Bible, Paul said he was being poured
out as a drink offering. How many
Christians have enough faith in God to give their all for Him? You have that
choice!We think we have all the time in the world to make changes in our lives
for the better...Tomorrow I will pray more...Tomorrow I will give more to the
church...tomorrow I will forgive my mother, father, brother, sister, son,
daughter, friend, neighbor, enemy...but what if tomorrow never comes. Today ...now... is the time to remove those
obstacles, those sins, from our lives that prevent us from having total faith
in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now is the
time to make a choice! For when we have faith in our Lord, we will bring others
to that same faith. As Jesus told Simon
Peter to not be afraid, he also is telling us the same thing..."Do not be
afraid! From now on you will catch
men...they left everything and followed Him."When you make the choice to follow
Jesus Christ in faith, everything in life is a miracle. You can accomplish anything and overcome any
obstacle...any sin! You will see miracles
everyday in the most significant and insignificant of thing. Open yourself to the calling of our Lord,
just as He called those so-called insignificant fishermen two thousand years
ago to follow Him...and when they did, they brought about the greatest change in
the life of everyone in the world up to this very day. We all can make a change for the better in
this world if we make the right choice.
- Very Rev. E. Michael Macura