What If He Looks Your Way

You know, life has a way of teaching us things we don't always want to know. Like, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." I just want to highlight one of those things this morning. Jesus always gets things started by looking for a few good folks. That's what happened along the shores of the Galilee so long ago. And it's still happening today. So here's my question for you this morning: what if he looks your way? What would the good Lord see in you, were he to desire to get started on saving our day, our generation, our congregation, our little household here in our little corner of the world? Isn't it worth thinking and praying about? What would he see? When Jesus looked Peter and Andrew's way, he saw something more and different than they saw in themselves. He saw strength. He saw somebody with a heart and an eye for mending. He saw somebody willing to be taught and able to move. But that was then and that was them. Now what? What about us?

What if he looks your way? Will he see more or differently than you? Most of us have learned that Jesus was a prophet. True. And we've been taught that prophets are folks who can tell us the future. Also true, but for a different reason than we're led to believe. The Bible's prophets are not soothsayers, fortunetellers, crystal ball gazers (new age or old). It's not their foresight that helps them to see what's coming. It's their insight. They see things, see us, as though with God's eye. It's because they can see what's inside that they can see ahead. Jesus was a prophet. And with a prophet's eye he will look on you and on me. No wonder he may see what we may not.

He sees the sin in us, just as he did in Andrew and in Peter. Nothing hidden or clothed in excuses. Truthfully, I do not find this comforting. What about you? 'Bad enough he sees the stuff I don't let you or anybody else see. Worse. He sees in me what I can't, won't, or just don't see in myself. When I think about that I don't have to get all worked up about Judgment Day. It's enough just to try to get through the hour. But then, this is my problem. Surely you're better. Right?… Our Bible's right, "Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood." (I Cor . 13: 12) But Christ will also see the hurt in us. (Just as in those along the shore of Galilee.) The disappointment. The angers. The stuff that twists and distorts both who we are and where we're headed, left on our own. It is not that he will make excuses for us. That is not what forgiveness is, or the meaning of the cross. It's that he will make allowances. He will see in his eye, with his heart, what we would have been, could have, wished to be, if only we could know as he does. If only we could believe without all the static, the interference life produces that makes it so hard for us to hear his voice when he calls. He knows that (digital or analogue) our souls are like radios constantly listening between channels, rather than right on them. Like dial-up internet, often our spirits have trouble connecting to the Server-of-Spirits, and there are hacker demons trying constantly to alter the hard drive of our hearts-toward-him. And in his holy, spiritual eye, Christ sees us as we would be, as God would have us be, made us to be, free of all distortion. That is what grace is, the work of the cross. What if Jesus looks your way?…Oh, take warning and take comfort, he will see something different, and more than you, or I.

Jesus saw strength in those fisher-brothers. What will he see in you? Andrew and Peter were life long fishers. Any eye could see, when they stripped to the waist for work as Peter sometimes was, that they were (how would Meghan say it)… buff! Six pack abs and all that, don't you know! Ripped! But Jesus saw more. He saw in them what he looks for in us. He saw two brothers strong in faith, each in his own way. The fisher must trust that God has stocked the lake. Below the water. Where the eye cannot see. 'Has to trust that if he casts his net in the right place and in the right way, the catch will be enough to live on. The fisher has to believe, truly believe, that the boat will be shelter enough from the storm. And that the maker of both the waves and the souls who ride them will love the souls more than the water, and will protect them. The fisher possesses the strength to be patient and the patience to be strong when everything else says to give in and give up. That's what the Master saw in the Zebedees. No wonder he saw in them spiritual fishers! Good for them. Only now, Jesus may be looking our way. What does he see?

Are we strong enough to look below the surface of our daily lives and really trust that God will provide? (I wish you could hear what some of our out-of-work folks say they've learned, some of our eldest have discovered, some of our most up-tight have yet to conceive. God is good all the time. All the time, God is good.) With his eye in your direction, does Jesus see someone who trusts the boat? You know, that was the earliest picture of the church. Yet how often when life rages-and-storms-all-'round do folks get out of the boat. (Church) Get away from the Word. (Bible) Swim for themselves. Take no heed of spiritual direction. Do we see our Lord on the side of the waves (our problems and distresses), or on our side? Be certain, when the Lord looks in our direction he sees more and differently than we see. And he looks for strength. Not so much in our arms or our middles, as in the center of our faith. Here is a place that can strengthen you where it counts the most!

Don't miss this. Those fishers showed Jesus somebody with an eye and a heart for mending. Jesus is still looking for both. And he's looking toward you and toward me. A net with a hole is not much of a net. Everything depends on every strand being tied together. But there are so many forces and creatures that tear at it. The currents, the rocks, the fish, the water itself. So fishers need a sharp eye to look to every sign of wear and tear. And then too, they need the willingness to mend. They have to learn to be skilled with the needle and the knot. And they require enough passion for the catch to keep mending, even when their fingers throb and their backs are sore from bending.

What do you think? Do we have an eye and a heart for mending? Can we see the holes in one another? The hurt places? The ailing in each other's souls, lives, families? Are we willing and skilled at sewing things back together when marriages are torn, or relationships among our church family? Jesus is looking this way. What does he see? There's a great wide world out there. Are we in a mode for mending? We've been three years waiting to become a Global Mission Partner congregation. That means supporting two UMC missions, sharing in teaching, giving in full support of the general mission of the church. And, telling the story of how to change lives and open hearts through the love of Jesus. All of you ought to bug all of us responsible for leading this. The message ought to be: Jesus is looking for menders of the body and the soul. We want him to look on us with pleasure and delight!

Jesus took a look at Peter and Andrew. He saw souls willing to be taught and able to move. Now he's looking at us. What's the view from the Master today? "Jesus said to them, 'Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.' And immediately they left their nets and followed him." Perfect people are not required for Jesus to begin the ministry of bringing in the Kingdom. Just teachable souls. Otherwise, Peter never makes the cut. Jesus doesn't require us to be good enough… to follow him. Just open enough. Just willing to listen with our ears, see with our eyes, reach from our innermost places for a Place With Him Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And then too, he is looking for those who will make themselves available. Not later. Not when it's convenient. Not when ready. NOW. Right now! Not waiting for tomorrow but yielding today. Andrew did that, was that, saw that, felt that, submitted to that. Peter too, when Jesus looked his way. Well, Jesus is looking our way now. Yours and mine. And there are two things Jesus wants to know. First, are you open? Willing to be taught. Aware that maybe you, and I, don't know it all already. Aware that there is more light yet to pour forth from his Holy Word. (J. Robinson) Second, are we ready to come now? Today. With him. All the way. More and different than we ourselves can see. But no less than he can see in us. Strong in faith. With an eye, a will, a passion for mending. With open hearts and willing feet.Your mamma was right. Mine too. The more things change the more they stay the same. Jesus always gets things started looking for a few good folks. What if he looks your way (and mine)? What if his hopes ride on our hearts? What if? What if? What if?…

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