CONGRATULATIONS!

You have made it to Module 3 Day 21 of your journey.

 
Download Module 3 Scripture List Here

 
 
The Pareto Principle, sometimes called the 80-20 rule, or the law of the vital few, states that “80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.” Applied to kingdom service we may be able to  say that 80% of the work is being done by 20% of the people. An easy way to determine this is to look at any church service on any given Sunday. Churches are full of worshipers, but how many of those same worshipers are involved in any type of kingdom service? Not many! The ratio of workers to non-workers is quite significant.
 

This third module will look at service from the perspective of Jesus. What He came to do and  what He expects from those who follow Him. Jesus recognized that there was a lack of workers in relation to the amount of need in the world. He told the disciples to pray that the ‘Lord of the harvest’ would send laborers into the harvest field.

Ministry involves work, there is no question about that. The Apostle Paul calls those who work in God’s kingdom, ‘God’s fellow workers,’ or co-laborers with God. However as is often the case,  the people who do the work of Kingdom building generally do more than their fair share. This should change. More people should be involved in working for God! There is nothing that brings more joy and personal satisfaction in this life; and nothing else promises eternal rewards.
 
It is my prayer that you will become involved in service to your King. As a co-laborer with God, you never work alone. If you are a ministry worker  and you are feeling the pressure because you are carrying a load, take heart, God is with you. Be encouraged because you know that God Himself is with you and He is seeing all that you do. If you are not yet involved in ministry work, why not consider the privilege of serving Him with your gifts and talents?
 
In his letter to the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 12), the Apostle Paul expounded on the concept of the church as a body with many ‘members.’ He said that each member has its own unique function (hands, eyes, ears etc), but does not operate independently of the body. Each part or member, uses its own particular gift or ability so that the whole body benefits. Likewise, when a part of the body hurts, the whole body feels the discomfort.
 

When all members of a local church or assembly become involved in the work of the ministry, the local church benefits and by extension the kingdom of God. Therefore each one should carefully consider how he or she can use their gifts to benefit God’s kingdom.

 

DAY 30

The Love of Money

 

 

VERSE OF THE DAY

“You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:14-15)

In the modern church of today, there are two divergent views about Bible’s teachings on money. On one side you have those who say that God wants His people to prosper, so its okay to focus on wealth. In fact those who hold this view generally think, not in the context of having enough, but in having it in excess. If you do not have money you are not walking in the blessings of God. They will argue, how else can we fund missions? How else can we build big churches?
 
On the other hand you have those who believe that while God does indeed want His children to be blessed, there are more important priorities in the life of a believer than the pursuit of riches.
 
Jesus spoke a lot about money and its use, but He also cautioned listeners on the dangers of the accumulation of wealth. At one time He said: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” (Mathew 6:19-20).
 
Treasures in heaven, that’s where we should focus our efforts and energies. My wife and I went up to the top of Rockefeller Center where there are spectacular panoramic views of New York city. While enjoying the views, I wondered if this great philanthropist, for whom this piece of prime real estate is named, ever thought about “laying up treasures in heaven.” John D. Rockefeller is dead and gone, and though his name, and what he acquired, still remain, that too will become corrupted and destroyed. Jesus said, of treasures in heaven, “moth and rust do not destroy and thieves do not break in and steal.”
 
The apostle Paul said: “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Though money itself is amoral – neither good or evil – our preoccupation with it can be destructive. It can take us away from seeking first, the kingdom of God. In the verse above Jesus addressed the Pharisees, “who loved money.” They derided Him because He said: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
 
Jesus presented to them a logical impossibility. One cannot serve two masters at the same time. Believers are expected to  “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind.”  There should be no place for the love of money which is an abomination unto God.    
Lord, my desire is to serve You and You alone. Keep my heart pure and  guarded against the lusts of the world. Teach me dear Lord, to be contented with that which You have provided. Amen

 

1. According to 1 Timothy 6:10, what is one danger of the love of money?
2. Do you think it is possible to serve God and wealth? Explain your answer
 
READ MORE
For further study: Matthew 4:19-34; John 3:1-21
 

DAY 29

PRIORITIZE

 

 

VERSE OF THE DAY

“For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:32-33)

There was a time when it was true that the sun never set on the British empire. Those were the glory days when Britain, the super-power of that age, flew her flags on countries all over the world.  “Rule Britannia” was a favorite refrain of the day and was used by the Royal Navy and the British Army to pledge loyalty to the monarchy.  Today many of her former colonies  – India, Australia, islands of the West Indies  – are now independent, self governed nations.
 
When Jesus began His public ministry, His message was: “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). He did not explain what was meant by that because the Jews, who were eagerly awaiting a Messiah, would know. He was talking about God’s sovereign rule upon the earth, and  being a part of that kingdom would only come through repentance. Later on in many of His parables Jesus would begin to define the kingdom of God.
 
It is important for disciples that they prioritize the Kingdom of God. As Jesus said, seek God’s kingdom; seek that which matters to the kingdom, first! Seek that which matters to God, first!  And “all these things  will be added to you.” The question therefore remains, what are “all these things?” The obvious answer to that question is treasure; wealth and riches; food and clothes, more than enough.
 
Jesus  begins this discourse by saying: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Later on He said: “For after all these things the Gentiles seek.”   Gentiles, those who are not under the rule of God; those who do not belong to the Kingdom of God, seek after these things; they are consumed by them; their eyes are constantly on them. And because the “eyes are the lamp of the body” it brings in darkness and all that their hearts can rest upon is their treasure.
 
 

Jesus cautions that those who are subjects of the Kings of Kings should concern themselves, first and foremost, with the things of the kingdom.

 Lord, teach me to trust you for all my needs.  May I not be carried away by materialistic thinking or by  things that may prevent me from seeking  first, that which is dear to Your heart.  Amen
 1.The ‘Kingdom is at hand’ literally means the Kingdom has drawn near. If it has, who is the king?
2. What is the criteria for being a part of the Kingdom of God? (Matthew 4:17)
3. Read John 3:3. What does Jesus tell Nicodemus he must be in order to see the kingdom of God?
4. What two elements must one be born of, in order to see the Kingdom of God? (John 3:5)
 
READ MORE
For further study: Matthew 4:19-34; John 3:1-21
 

 

 

DAY 28

WORK IN THE DAY

 

 

VERSE OF THE DAY

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” (John 9:3-4)

For eight years I worked the midnight shift at a cargo handling facility at JFK airport. It was part of an operation that ran 24/7. During that time I  enjoyed doing my job and I became used to the difficult hours, or so I thought. When another position opened up that gave me daylight hours with weekends off, I jumped at it. After just a few weeks of working during the day, I realized what a blessing it was, and how much it affected my by working the graveyard shift. I distinctly remember looking back and feeling that eight years of my life disappeared into a black hole!
There are some people who must work the night shift; police officers, doctors, nurses, too numerous to name. Our economy runs on an endless cycle; one that never stops. In Jesus’ day, very few people worked the night shift. Except for fishermen who went out at night, and shepherds maybe, most people worked in the daytime. Thus it would have been easier for those whom Jesus addressed, to understand His words: “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.”
 
The larger idea that Jesus is expressing here is the urgency of the work that needs to be done. There is a time-frame involved; a period in which the work must, and should be done, because when that time passes, its past and no one can do anything afterwards. Evangelism has an expiration date! We seldom think that the time may pass when we can effectively minister to someone, but it happens all the time. People pass our way, people whom we knew yesterday, we do not know today and so on; people live, people die! We too may not have to strength to do what could have been done today. The writer of Hebrews expressed the idea of “today.” He says: “He (God) designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.”
 

I hope that you will recognize the urgency of ‘now!” What is the Lord saying to you now? In the context of the today’s verse, Jesus  and His disciples passed a man who was blind from birth. The disciples asked: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  Jesus answered: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” Like the woman at the well, this man had a divine appointment with Jesus as a particular place, and a space in time so that God’s work through Jesus, should be revealed in Him.

 

DAY 27

A JOYOUS REWARD

 

 

VERSE OF THE DAY

“And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored…” (John 4:36-38)

A farmer’s joy is at harvest time. If he has put in the amount of work required, and if the soil and the weather has cooperated with him so that his crops come in well, there will be much rejoicing. In most agrarian societies, the time of reaping is a time of celebration. The Psalmist David once said: “Those who sow in tears, shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing; shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126:5-6)
 
But what happens if the farmer does all the back-breaking work of planting, and another comes and reaps the crop; another gets the benefit of the harvest? How do you think the farmer  will feel? Cheated? Wronged? Life is unfair? I am sure all of these! Jesus presents just such a scenario to His disciples (John 4:35-38), but with a twist! In this scenario there are no hard feelings; instead both parties- the one who sowed and the one who  reaps – rejoice together. The difference is in the crop! They are gathering or harvesting “fruit” for eternal life.
 
In the previous lesson we discussed Jesus’ words that no one comes to Him unless he is drawn by the Father (John 6:44 & 65). In other words no one is saved unless the Spirit of God works within him to draw him closer to God. It is nice to think that a person hears the gospel for the first time, is immediately convicted of sin, and makes a decision to follow Christ. On the surface it may appear to be so, bur the Holy Spirit has been working on that person for a long time, wooing and drawing the sinner to Jesus. There have been instances, where pastors may have preached the gospel dozens of time; made dozens of altar calls, and a certain individual never makes that step of faith to commit his or herself to Christ. Then one day an evangelist shows up, preaches a simple message, and suddenly the person makes his/her way to the altar. Though it may seem sudden, there is nothing sudden about it. There is nothing in there for the pastor to feel bad about either; “one sows and another reaps.”
 
Jesus said to the disciples: “I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”  Evangelism is a collective responsibility. Every disciple is charged with leading people to Christ, and it is easier to do than we may think. God is already working on people through their interactions with others, their circumstances, and events that occur in their lives. This is what Jesus meant by His disciples reaping “that for which you have not labored.” When we lead someone to Christ, we enter into someone else’s labor so that we may rejoice together.

PRAY

 
Lord, teach me to seize the moments; give me a discerning heart to know and understand when a heart is ready to submit to your Lordship. Amen

1. Do you remember when you were saved? What were the circumstances?
2. List one or more events that occurred in your life that you can credit with bringing you to the point of salvation:
3. Do you remember the names of the people who were instrumental in leading you to Christ? List them here:
4. Is there a situation where you feel that you entered into someone else labor by participating in an individual’s salvation?

READ MORE
For further study read Psalm 126:5-6; John 4:35-38; Matthew 9:35-38

 

DAY 26

PROCRASTINATION

 

 

VERSE OF THE DAY

“Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” (John 4:35)

Several years ago I visited the now destroyed World Trade Center twin towers in New York city, with my daughter and her cousin. They wanted to go up to the observation deck, but we did  not have the time. I said to them: “These buildings will be here forever, we will go up another time!” Well, September 11, 2001 proved me wrong! On that day, while watching the tragedy unfold on TV, my  words came back to me, and has stayed with me ever since. It was a vivid reminder that things that need doing, should be done! No procrastination!
In going out of His way to meet with the woman at the well (John 4), Jesus seized the moment. He came at a particular time, for a definite purpose. While the disciples were out looking for food, He was doing what needed to be done. When they asked Him to eat, He said: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” He continued by expressing to them the importance of the moment: “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!”
In ministry, it is easy to say, ‘we have the time.’ But the person that you can minister to today, may not be around tomorrow. The opportunity that opens up for you to be a witness, may not open on another occasion. It is clear from scripture that the Holy Spirit draws men to Jesus. Our Lord said: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44). He repeats this idea a second time in John 6:65.
 
While His disciples were occupied getting food, Jesus was meeting the heart’s need of a desperate woman. He came to that well, when He knew she would be there, for that very purpose. It may very well be that the Spirit of God had drawn her to that well, at that time. It was a divine appointment. The disciples could not, and did not see that. Hence the reason Jesus said to them: “Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for the harvest!” The ‘harvest’ that Jesus speaks about is not some distant, end of the age event; it is happening now, as I write, as you read, as we go about our daily affairs. God Spirit is drawing men and women to Him every moment in time. Opportunities are being created for those who are willing to ‘lift up their eyes and look.’

Dear Lord  help me to not put off for tomorrow the witnessing that I can do today. I know that there are people around me whom you are drawing, by Your Spirit; help me to see. Amen 

1. Was there ever a time when you felt the Holy Spirit’s prompting to be a witness to someone? How did you respond? What were the results?

2. How difficult is it to share your faith with another person? Very difficult- Somewhat difficult – Easy
3. One of the easiest ways to evangelize is to invite your friend to church with you. When was the last time you invited someone to church?
4. Ask the Lord to give you the Spirit of discernment to see opportunities to lead someone to Him.
5. In times of great personal need, people are more open to the gospel. Make it a point to share God’s love when you become aware of a personal crisis. In such cases however, be sensitive to the person’s situation. Do not become overbearing, but  follow the Spirit’s lead in every conversation. At the very least offer to pray for the person, and make a point to do so, preferably at the same moment if possible.

READ MORE
For further study: James 4:13-16

 

 

 

DAY 25

Work or Ministry?

VERSE OF THE DAY

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” (John 4:34-35)

On His journey to Galilee Jesus made a detour through  Samaria, to a town called Sychar. It was getting late in the evening, and His disciples had left Him to go find some food. Jesus sat down at a well – Jacob’s Well – being weary from His journey, and as a woman approached, He asked her for a drink of water. The woman was stunned by Jesus’ request because this was unheard of. Firstly, Jews had no dealings with  Samaritans; secondly, she was a woman of ill repute.
 
Jesus’ request for a drink was really His way of opening a door to addressing some really important life issues that this woman was facing. When He was finished speaking to her, she was changed, forever. She went away telling people: “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”
 
Jesus’ encounter with this woman at the well was not a coincidence. He actually went out of His way to meet her. It was all part of His ministry outreach to the outcasts of society. She was the type of woman that no self-respecting Jew would give the time of day. Yet Jesus made it a point to meet with her. When she left the disciples returned with food, and they asked Him to eat. Jesus responded: “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” Not understanding, the disciples asked each other, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”  Jesus replied: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”
 
Jesus’ ministry was the most important thing in His life at that point; more important than food. To many people, ministry is a simply a job. People do it because they feel they have to; that no one else will do it, and it soon becomes tedious and brings no joy. The Lord never intended it to be so. Ministry, with all the challenges that come with it, should be done to the honor and glory of God and should never be treated as if it’s just a job.
 
When Stephen, one of the first deacons of the early church, was about to be stoned to death for preaching Christ, He looked up into heaven, and saw the glory of God. He loudly exclaimed: “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” In the face of such terrible persecution, Stephen was unbowed; he pleaded with God for his tormentor’s forgiveness, and died with grace. Stephen, though he was appointed  deacon in the church, never saw it as a job. It was his calling, and his joy to serve the King of kings; a calling that he gladly died for.
Dear Lord, give me a heart of compassion and eyes to see the ‘whitened harvest’, and teach me to be committed to my calling in You. Give me the strength to carry on, when I feel like giving up.Amen
1. What is your reason for fulfilling the ministry functions assigned to you?

I do it because it is what I am told to do!
I do it because if I don’t no one else will!
I do it because it makes me feel good when people recognize my efforts!
I do it because I feel it is what I was called to do, and I find great pleasure in serving God with my gifts and abilities!
2. What priority do you place on your ministry function?
I get to it when I can!
I really don’t have the time but I do what I can!
It is my first priority after God and my family!
3. Do you feel that you are giving enough time to the service of the Lord?  YES  / NO
4. If you answered NO, what do you think you can do to become more committed to Kingdom service?
5. Do you ever feel that you are doing too much and everyone else
 is doing too little?

READ MORE
For further study read John 2:1-12

 

DAY 24

Just Do it!

VERSE OF THE DAY

Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” (John 2:4-5)

Jesus and His disciples were invited to a wedding in Cana of Galilee; His mother – Mary – was invited as well. Sometime during the festivities, the wine ran out. As anyone who has ever hosted any sort of event knows, it is a bit of an embarrassment to run out of anything, especially food and drink. Mary came to Jesus and said to Him: “They have no wine.”
 
Jesus’ response to His mother was a bit curt, and may have sounded rude: “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” But Jesus was never rude or disrespectful; such behavior is not in His sinless nature. Mary, without missing a beat, says to the servants: “Whatever He says to you, do it!”
 
Our Lord performed His first recorded miracle that day; He turned six jars of ordinary water into the finest wine the wedding guests had ever tasted. I am no wine drinker but that wine must have tasted, well, divine! But it may never had happened if the servants had not been obedient to Him. Mary said to them: “Whatever He says to you, do it!” Like the Nike tag line, just do it! There are so many people to whom Jesus is speaking,  but are reluctant to simply do what He commands. Jesus said: “If you love Me, you will keep my commands.”
 
When Mary made her request of Jesus, she was stepping out in faith; she was fully trusting that He would meet the need. Mary in turn had to communicate with the servants that they should do as He said; they needed to have faith as well. Though it was not yet Jesus’ time, as He said, He responded to Mary’s faith in Him. The servants responded in obedience to His command and the miracle happened.
 
When it comes to working for God, the servant of God must be ready to just do it. The writer of Hebrews tells us that faith is the substance of the things hoped for, and the evidence of things which we do not see. No one at the wedding feast would have imagined water turning into wine, but when they had faith that Jesus would respond to a need, He did!
 

What is He saying to you? Are you willing to be obedient to Him and do what He says?
The servants could have grumbled by saying, we need wine, why is He asking for jars of water? But instead they obeyed unquestioningly and Jesus performed a ‘pre-mature’ miracle for their benefit. Premature, you ask? Jesus said to Mary: “My hour has not yet come!”

Lord, I pray that I will always be obedient to Your will and way; may I always do as you have commanded, with implicit trust that You know my needs better than I do.  Amen

1. Have you heard from the Lord lately? You do know that He speaks to you? Write some of the ways in which the Lord speaks  to His children:
2. Give an example of one instance of which you are sure of,  when the Lord  spoke to you:
3. Were you obedient to Him? If ‘no’ why not? What hindered you from being obedient?
4. Faithfulness and obedience to the Lord are two vital aspects of kingdom service. How faithful are you to the ministry that God has called you into?
Very faithful – Somewhat Faithful- Unfaithful
5. Make a personal pledge to increase your level of faithfulness.

READ MORE
For further study read John 2:1-12

 

DAY 23

Feed the People!

VERSE OF THE DAY

When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.” But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” (Luke 9:12-13)

The disciples had come back from what can be described as an adventure! Jesus had given  “them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases;” He sent them out to preach and heal the sick ( Luke 9:1-6). It was the first time that they had gone out on their own, and they were successful. On their return they reported to Him “all that they had done.” Jesus tried to take them to a quiet place, possibly to hear more of what they had experienced, but as it happened all too often, the crowds found out where He was and followed Him. Jesus never turned people away, so He preached and healed those who were sick.
 
Later in the day the disciples came to Jesus and encouraged Him to send the people away to find food and lodging since they were in a deserted place. Jesus said to them:“You give them something to eat.” The disciples were stunned; where would they find food to feed so many people? There were about 5,000 men and all they had were five loaves and two fish.
 
Being a disciple of Christ involves feeding people. The world is full of people who are hungry; people who need the Bread of Life. When Jesus said to the disciples, “You give them something to eat,” He was speaking literally in that He wanted them to satisfy the people’s physical hunger, but He was also making a statement on the people’s spiritual condition.
 
On the surface it would seem that the disciples did not have the means to meet the people’s need. They knew that they did not have the amount of food needed, and Jesus certainly knew that. Yet He wanted them to step out in faith. In some accounts of this story, the disciples searched for food and found a small amount of bread and fish. They did what they could do at the time. In feeding people who are spiritually hungry, the Lord only wants us to do, what we can do. He will do the rest.
 
Luke’s account records that Jesus told the disciples to seat the crowds in groups of fifty. They could do that! Then He took the food that they had, blessed it, and it multiplied. Enough to feed five thousand people with twelve baskets of food left over.
 

Working for the Lord is two-sided; man’s part, and God’s part. We supply and do what we physically can, and let Him work the miracle. In Jesus’ first miracle – turning water into wine – He asked them to fill the pots with water (John 2:1-11). They could do that! He supplied the miracle. God cannot, or will not do His part until we do our part. Evangelizing involves preaching the gospel, but it is the Holy Spirit who brings conviction, and leads men to salvation.

PRAY: Lord, help me to step out in faith, beyond my limitations and do what you have called me to do. Amen

1. Review the lesson on day eight (Not By Bread Alone  – Mt. 4:4).
2. What do you think are  limitations to God’s calling on your life?
3. Read the account of the feeding of the five thousand in all four accounts. (see below) What additional information does John’s gospel provide ? (John 6:9)
4 The miracle of the multiplication of the food was handled by Jesus; what were the disciples asked to do?

READ MORE
For further study, read the account of the feeding of the five thousand in all four gospels: Luke 9:10-16; Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; John. 6:1-15

 

DAY 22

The Catch!

VERSE OF THE DAY

When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” (Luke 5:4)

Fishing to earn one’s living is hard work. Fish do not always cooperate, and it is not unusual  to fish all night and catch nothing. To a fisherman, going to sea and coming home with an empty boat, is a frustrating experience. If everything is calculated in dollars and cents, the cost of an unfruitful expedition is high and a waste of time and resources. Very few fishermen, especially those in Jesus’ day, would have been able to absorb the loss. You can imagine Peter’s dismay when Jesus, after teaching the crowds said to him: “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
 
Politely, Peter replied: “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing…”  Jesus could have answered him by saying: You caught nothing because you don’t know how to fish! Or He could have said: You did not try hard enough Peter!! There was no need for such a reply, however, because Peter continued by saying: “Nevertheless, at Your word I will let down the net.” Peter’s obedience to the command of Jesus netted him what  was possibly the  biggest catch in his fishing career. But it would not be the greatest catch of his life. He would go on to catch bigger and better. At the end of the exercise, Jesus told him, “From now on, you will catch men.”
 
The main purpose for the preaching of the gospel is to catch men! God expects those who are on His team to launch out into the sea of lost humanity, and draw in the net of souls into the ark of safety. Humankind does not quite understand that the water is murky and unsafe but there is peace and safety in the boat.
 
There are several parallels we can draw from this story, one of which is the level of work involved in catching fish. Peter’s occupation was not an easy one…catching fish is not fun unless you are doing it for sport. So too is the ministry of evangelizing. What makes it easy though is one’s love for doing it. Ministry is never hard if a person loves the Lord. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”  
 
The next parallel is knowing where to fish. The instruction that Jesus gave was, “Launch out into the deep.” They had to go where the fishes were. True there are fishes everywhere in the sea, and that might mean you will catch something if you are fishing. But as experienced as they were, Peter and his friends toiled all night but caught nothing. The strategy used is important in fishing and if you do not catch anything, you do not throw away the nets; you go out again! And again, because one thing is certain, the fish are out there.

Thirdly, there is obedience to the Word of God. Peter declared: “At Your word!” We go in obedience to the word of God, which says to “Go!” Past failures mean nothing, in God’s equation. How willing you are to go is what will make the difference. The men whom Jesus spoke to were men who knew the sea. Jesus was a teacher who grew up as a carpenter’s son. If anything they would have known more about fishing then He did. Yet they did not argue; they obeyed.

Dear Lord, I’ve barely  touched the surface when it comes to serving you, help me to launch out in to the deep to serve you with all my gifts and talents.  Amen

1. Peter, James and John were all fishermen. Jesus allowed them to apply skills that they learned in their professional lives, to the process of evangelizing. What is your professional experience and how can it be channeled into kingdom service?
2. Peter could have been hindered from obtaining that great catch, and from learning a powerful object lesson if he had stuck by his past experience (“We have toiled all night and caught nothing.”) What past experience has prevented you from being a good ‘fisher of men’?
3. Jesus said: “Launch out into the deep…for a catch.” List a few ways in which you can launch out.
4. List the name of the last person that you shared your faith with:

READ MORE
For further study: Luke 5:1-8

 

DAY 21

 

SAVED TO SERVE

 
VERSE OF THE DAY
 
 

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

My mother – who is now in heaven –  used to say: “It’s only what is done for Christ will last.” Not very original , but in a way it sums up her life. My mother was poor and died leaving very little behind. She was soft-spoken, and if she was in the room you would hardly notice, but her quiet devotion to Jesus is what stood out about her. She taught Sunday School up to late in her life and today if you ask people who knew her, they will mostly remember her for her faithfulness to the Lord.
 
People are saved to serve! It goes without saying that there is no greater privilege than to serve the Lord of the universe. When Jesus called His first disciples, He offered them this opportunity to serve: “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men,” He said to Peter James and John. He gave them  a chance to fulfill a far greater purpose for their lives than anything they could ever dream or imagine. In first century Palestine, the lives of humble fishermen, a tax collector, and assorted other commoners would have been the same until they died. No one would have heard of them. But they heeded the command of Jesus and  followed Him. 2000 plus years later, we still talk about them!
The life of Jesus, exemplified service. He himself said: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).  Today the thrust of the gospel has changed in many ways. People are not as much concerned about their eternal salvation as they are about worldly things. Heretics have hijacked the message of the humble servant of the people and are using it to preach a message of excess and abundance. The prosperity message has overtaken the simple message of a savior who died to save people from their sins.
 
When Jesus said that the Son of Man came to serve, not to  be served, He was addressing the desire of James and John asking for preferential treatment in the kingdom of Christ, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory,” they asked. They were seeking status in God’s kingdom. Isn’t that what the world seeks, and what is being taught in lieu of salvation today? The idea of serving others in humility seems to be an ancient concept.
 

It is an honor to serve, and everyone can serve. If you are not serving you are doing a dis-service to yourself and your king. He wants you to serve! There are may reasons why people do not serve. Some are too busy with ‘more important’ things; some people’s priorities are in the wrong place; some people do not see the sense in eternal rewards, they need it now; others are just too lazy. There are however, still many people who love the Lord.

Dear Lord, I pray that You will give me the courage, the strength and the ability to work for You.  Amen
1. List the areas of ministry in which you are currently serving
2. List in order of preference, your talents and abilities:
3. What, if any, is your ideal ministry function? (What would you like to do?)
4. Make an appointment with your pastor to talk about ministry opportunities in your church.