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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Craig Smith » Craig Smith - The Rhythm of Life

Craig Smith - The Rhythm of Life

Craig Smith - The Rhythm of Life
TOPICS: More to the Story

Hey, I wanna talk to you a little bit today about what God wants from you. This past weekend on Easter we talked about what God has for you, we talked about the fact that the empty grave, the empty tomb isn’t really empty, it’s actually full of all the more that we’re longing for. It’s got more forgiveness for our past and the peace that comes from that. It’s got more power for the present and the joy that comes with that. And it’s got more hope for the future, meaning, and significance. The empty tomb is full of all those things. And we take hold of them by faith, right? That’s all it takes. We put our faith in Jesus, his life, death, and resurrection. We trust him and we would get all of that stuff in return.

But I don’t know about you. See, I grew up in a family where I had a dad and I had a granddad who were constantly trying to teach me, you know, wisdom, trying to teach me how to think about the world. And one of the pieces of wisdom they both imparted to me was, “Hey, just so you know, Craig, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

And so I kind of came to this place where I went, you know, if something is claimed to be free, it’s probably not really free. Right? It’s probably something that you’re gonna have to pay off on an installment plan that you just didn’t fully understand when you got into the deal. I first learned this through something called the Columbia House. Yeah. The Columbia House a lot of other people got caught up in that. Yeah. The Columbia House record and tape club. Back in the day there was no Spotify, right? There was no Apple Music, so you actually had to get physical objects. You start out with records, right? And we know about records today. But then there was a weird little interlude, there were these things called tapes. And tapes, you actually sometimes you had to stick a pencil in, you had to screw it so that it worked. It was a very weird thing.

And then we had CDs, right? And they were kind of expensive, but there was the record, the Columbia House record and tape club. And they allowed you to get 12 CDs for a penny, right? And then the idea was you had to buy, like, I don’t know, like, six or seven at regular price over the next couple of years. But what they didn’t tell you was they were gonna send you a CD automatically every single month and it was really difficult to cancel that because there was no online portal, right? And so it was really hard to cancel. And so they would send them and then they would charge you for them. And actually, their regular rate was about twice what it cost you to go into a record or a CD shop and get it. And so, like, I ended up paying, like, way more for my 12 CDs than a penny. I actually paid more than I would have if I’d just gone into a store and bought 12 CDs. Anybody else kind of got caught up in that?

Yeah. Yeah. And that’s where I first kind of learned that, hey, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, right? Maybe it looks free at first, but if so you’re probably gonna have to pay it off in a big installment plan. And I think sometimes we bring that kind of idea to the Gospel. We got all this amazing stuff. All the more we long for is ours free by faith in Jesus, but I think a lot of us kind of harbor the suspicion that what God expects is that we’re gonna pay it off in an installment plan. And that can really impact the way that we relate to God. It can really… Honestly, it can leech the joy out of our relationship with Jesus. But I think a lot of us struggle with that.

So, what I wanna do today, I wanna take you to a passage that really God has been using to challenge my way of thinking about what God wants from me. Okay? If you wanna follow along, we’re gonna be in John chapter 21, starting in verse 1. John 21:1. And this is a story about something that happened after the Resurrection of Jesus. This is kind of the rest of the story. And it’s kind of interesting that there’s this weird little thing that happened. Jesus rose from the dead, he met with his disciples, everybody was super excited, and then, apparently, Jesus went away. He didn’t, like, ascend into heaven. That comes later. But apparently he, like, left the disciples and he went out and he… I don’t know. He wandered somewhere. I don’t know if he went on a walkabout. I don’t know. He went away. He disappeared for a while.

And so the disciples were kind of left in this place like, “Well, what do we do now?” And a few of them decided, “Well, I guess we should go home.” He was gone long enough that they decided to go home. They went back to Galilee where they’d first met him and that’s where the story takes place. John 21:1 says, “Now, afterward, Jesus appeared again to his disciples by the Sea of Galilee.” It’s where he’d first met a group of these guys. And so Jesus has been gone long enough that they’ve kind of gone home. It happened this way. Simon Peter, Thomas, also known as Didymus, which means twins, so he may have had a twin brother or sister, Nathaniel from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. And that’s an interesting group of people. And I think what John is doing is, he’s reminding us about the kind of people that Jesus called to himself that he invited to have a seat at the table with him.

I mean, we got Simon Peter. Simon was the guy that told Jesus the night before he was arrested, he told Jesus, “Hey, I’ll die for you.” And then when they actually came to arrest Jesus, Peter ran and then he ended up denying even who Jesus was three different times, right? So, Peter’s kind of got a little bit hypocrite in him. Right?

In addition to Simon Peter, we’ve got Thomas, also known as Didymus, but that’s not how we know him, is it? We call him what? We call him Doubting Thomas because he questioned the resurrection. He was a little skeptical about the resurrection. He wasn’t with the other disciples when they met Jesus, and so he was like, “I just don’t buy it. The guy is dead. Dead people don’t come back.” So, he’s a skeptic. He had to meet the risen Jesus before his skepticism went away.

We got Nathaniel from Cana in Galilee. And that’s interesting. Nathaniel from Cana. And I think the reason John says it that way is because when Nathaniel first met Jesus, the way it happened was some other guys met Jesus, they went with Nathaniel and they said, “Hey, I think we met the Messiah. I think we met God’s Savior. He’s Jesus from Nazareth.” And Nathaniel said, “From Nazareth? Yeah. Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Got a little, little prejudice going on there? Right? That’s a redneck kind of town. Right? And so, you know, Nathaniel is a little bit of a cynic about what God could or would do in certain kinds of places.

And then we got the sons of Zebedee. The sons of Zebedee are interesting because Jesus gave them a nickname. He called them the Sons of Thunder, which sounds like a compliment, but it probably wasn’t because these guys were…they were a little rough around the edges. They were a little judgmental, maybe not as gracious as Jesus was. At one point they were all kind of traveling through this area and there was a Samaritan Village that didn’t welcome Jesus. And so the sons of Zebedee, Jesus calls them the Sons of Thunder, they said, “Hey, Jesus, what do you want us to do? Do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume the village? Because we’ll totally do that. We are on board.” Not very gracious, a lot of judgmentalism.

And then, interestingly enough, and I feel the worst for these guys, then there were two other disciples. Like, that doesn’t feel fair, does it? Two other disciples are kind of, like, anonymous and invisible. Like, they knew John wrote that. They were like, “Why didn’t you name us?” He’s like, “Yeah, you know, there were two more.” But I wonder if you can find yourself somewhere in this group because I can. I’ve had times in my life where I probably fit every one of these guys. I’ve been a hypocrite. I’ve been a skeptic. I’ve been a cynic. I’ve been a little judgmental and a little ungracious. And sometimes, honestly, I just feel like I don’t have anything to bring to the table, kind of anonymous and invisible. And why would Jesus want anything to do with me? And if you can find yourself in that group, I think you’re supposed to because the good news is these are the kinds of people Jesus did invite to the table. These are the people Jesus invited to be part of what he did. And it was through these guys that Jesus changed the worlds.

And part of what John is helping us to understand here, reminding us, is that Jesus’s invitation to the table doesn’t depend on what we bring to it. Do you hear me? It’s so important to understand. Jesus’s invitation to the table doesn’t depend on what you bring to it. That’s not what the world teaches us. The world teaches us that you get an invitation to the table because of what you bring to it. You get invited to be part of a team because you got some kind of mad skills. You get invited to be part of an inner circle because you’ve earned it by effort. The world says if you want a place at the table, you gotta bring something to it. But Jesus’s invitation to the table doesn’t depend on what we bring to it.

Jesus never said, “Come to me all you who have something impressive to offer.” It’s not what he said. Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened. Come to me all you who are weary and burdened.” Not who have something impressive to offer, but something who are in desperate need. Come to the table those who are worn out and in need of refreshment. Come to the table those who are feeling weighed down and need forgiveness and you need freedom. Jesus wasn’t interested in what you brought to the table. He was interested in what you needed from it. That’s how you get a seat at the table. So, if you can find yourself somewhere in this group of guys, then that’s a good thing because it means that Jesus is inviting you to the table too and has nothing to do with what you bring to it.

I don’t know what these guys were thinking. Jesus has been gone for a while and now they’ve kind of gone home, that was the natural place to go, and still they’re kind of sitting around going, you know, “What should we do now?” And, of course, Simon Peter is the one who comes up with an idea. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them. And they said, “Okay. We’ll go with you. We got nothing better to do.” Right? And there’s a part of me that goes like, “What are these guys doing? You’ve met the risen Jesus. You should be planning a mission trip, not a fishing trip.” But on the other hand, there’s a part of me that goes, “Man, after everything they’ve been through, the highs and the lows and the highs, maybe they’re doing kind of what Jesus showed them to do, which is, it’s okay to kind of step back sometimes, to breathe in, to rest a little bit. Maybe they’re just doing that.” They plan a fishing trip.

They went out and they got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing, which is so funny because these are professional fishermen. Like, this isn’t a hobby for them. This is what they do for a living. And it’s really even funnier if you read through all the Gospels, every time you see these professional fishermen fishing, they have no fish. Like, literally, they have no fish. The only time these professional fishermen actually get fish is when Jesus shows up and helps them out. I love that. And I think partly what may be happening here is a little bit of a reminder. Jesus said, “Hey, just so you know, I’m the vine. You’re just the branches. And if you stay connected to me, you’re gonna bear all kinds of fruit, you’re gonna catch all kinds of fish. But apart from me,” he said, “you can do nothing. It doesn’t matter how good your skills are, it doesn’t matter how professional you are, apart from me, you can’t do anything.” So, they fish and they get nothing.

Now, early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. And I don’t know why that was. It might be that in his resurrected state that his appearance had changed a little bit, there’s some indications that that had happened, or it could be something as simple as the fact that it’s still early morning, the sun’s not fully up yet. It’s kind of dim. They can’t quite tell who’s on the shore yet. But either way, they didn’t quite recognize who it was. And he called out to them, he said, “Friends, haven’t you any fish? Don’t you have any fish?” “No,” they answered.

And he uses an interesting word for fish. It’s not the normal word for fish. When you go fishing and you catch fish, there’s a particular Greek word you would use. This is not that word. This is the word that you use for, like, a bite of fish. It was a word that you use, basically, to say, “Hey, you wanna grab something to eat?” And you’d use this word. Basically, what Jesus is saying is, “Hey, do you have a bite to eat? Do you have a bite? You have some fish and chips, basically?” I’m hungry. And so he’s asking, “Hey, do you have anything to bring to the table?” And they go, “No, we don’t have anything to bring to the table. We don’t have any fish.”

So, he said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you’ll find some.” Just so you know, when Jesus said throw your net on the right side, this is not some veiled reference to the liberal left and the righteous right. And I know, like, 99% of you out there are going, “I would never have even thought of that.” But there’s like 1% of you who are like, “I’m gonna use that in my next debate with a Democrat.” Don’t do that. Okay. That’s not what’s happening here. This isn’t a left-right thing. This is just, like, he’s telling them to do something. He’s telling them where the fish actually are or more importantly, he’s telling them where he’s put the fish.

And when they did, when they put the net on the right side, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. That’s gonna be important here in a second. There were seven of them in the boat, but they weren’t able, even seven of them together, professional fishermen, were not able to get the fish into the boat. There were so many in the net. It was a massive catch of fish. But what’s so interesting about this, don’t miss this, is that this started out with a request from Jesus, right? He said, “Hey, do you have anything to eat?” They were like, “No, we don’t have anything to offer you. We don’t have anything to bring to the table.” He’s like, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it. Fish over there and you’re gonna find it.”

So, Jesus just supplied what he was asking them to give. Don’t miss that. It’s really important. We’re gonna see this kind of pattern over and over again in this passage. And there’s a truth here that we have to understand and if we don’t understand it, the Christian life is always gonna be harder than it was intended to be. And the principle is just this, is that Jesus only asks us to give out of what we’ve been given. Please, hear that. Jesus only asks you to give out of what he’s given to you. Jesus never asked you to give more than he’s given. That’s what we’re seeing here. And if you’re finding that you’re feeling like, “I feel like God wants more from me than I have to give,” something’s gone wrong somewhere, something’s out of whack, something’s out of rhythm because Jesus only asks us to give out of what he’s given to us.

Now, when they get this huge catch of fish, one of them realizes who’s talking to them. And then the disciple whom Jesus loves said to Peter, “It’s the Lord.” And there’s been a lot of debate over the years about who is this disciple whom Jesus loved. Kind of the traditional understanding is that it’s John who wrote this Gospel. May very well be. There’s a good argument for that. My struggle with that has always been, it’s a weird way for John to describe himself.

Some scholars think that it might actually be Lazarus because when the sisters told Jesus that Lazarus had died, they literally said, they said, “Lord, the one whom you love has died.” Same phrase. So, it might be Lazarus. I don’t really know. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter. But the important thing to understand is this is one of the unnamed disciples, one of the invisible anonymous guys that didn’t feel like they had much to bring to the table at all. And the point is, what you bring to the table has nothing to do with whether or not Jesus loves you. You might feel anonymous and invisible, but just like these two unnamed disciples, this one in that group is the disciple whom Jesus loved. Jesus’s love for you does not depend on what you bring to the table. He just loves you. Maybe you feel anonymous and invisible. Can you replace those with loved? You’re not anonymous, you’re loved. You’re not invisible, you’re loved. You’re not empty-handed, you’re loved.

The disciple that Jesus loved goes, “Wait a minute, I know what’s going on. This is Jesus. Hey…” He says to Peter, he says, “Hey, it’s the Lord.” And as soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him, for he had taken it off, and he jumped into the water. Classic Peter. Like, Peter is just like… His exuberant faith. I love that about him. Yes, he has foot in mouth disease. Yes, he does. But he’s exuberant. And this is a display of faith. He leaps into the water. Now the other disciples followed in the boat towing the net full of fish. That’s more me. Like, you’re gonna… “Okay. You go do that. I’ll take care of the fish, whatever.”

For they were not far from the shore, about 100 yards. Now, when they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it and some bread. And that’s weird, isn’t it? Jesus asked them, “Hey, do you have a bite to eat?” They were like, “No, we don’t have any to bring to the table.” He’s like, “Okay. I’ll take care of it. Here’s some fish.” They’re like, “Okay. We’re gonna take him some fish.” They get there. And Jesus is already on the shore and he’s already got a fire going in, there’s already fish, and there’s bread. They’re like, “Did you want the fish or not?” And that’s just so interesting to me.

And over the last few weeks I’ve been wrestling with, like, “Why does Jesus do this? Why does he ask them for something that he already has?” And I found myself starting to ask this question, “What if everything Jesus asks us to give is really an invitation to receive? What if everything Jesus asks us to give is actually an invitation to receive?” Because I thought back on my life and, you know, there are things that Jesus asked me to give. He asked me to give him some of my time and energy learning about him, studying the Bible, listening to gifted teachers, but the thing is the more that I give him my time to learn about him, the more that I receive confidence that I can trust him.

He asked me to give him time and energy, just spending time with him, just being with him, you know, in personal, you know, just reading the Bible to learn from it and praying and time in worship with him. But the more time I give him in those ways, then the more that I find that I have peace and joy. He asked me to live generously with my time, my talent, my treasure. But the more that I give him those things, the more that I find that I have a sense of security that’s not rooted in those things I’m giving away, it’s rooted in the one that gave them to me and now I’m giving a little bit of them back to them and I am cementing that confidence in him. And so I just feel like as I look back at my life, everything that Jesus asked me to give has actually been an invitation to receive something better, something more profound, something more powerful, something infinitely more valuable. So, what if everything Jesus asks you to give is really just an invitation to receive something more valuable that he wants to pour into your life?

It’s kind of what’s happening here. And Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught.” And notice the “just caught,” because Jesus only asks us to give out of what has been given. So, he says, “Bring me some of the fish.” Not all of it. Just bring some of them. And so Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and he dragged the net ashore. The net was full of large fish, 153. But even with so many, the net was not torn. And this is a loaded sentence. There are several really important things that happened here. I’m gonna break it down. The first one is that, so, Simon goes and he grabs the nets and he hauls it ashore. Now, remember, previously, seven men, seven professional fishermen couldn’t get the net into the boat.

Now, Simon goes out and pulls it to shore all by himself. Does that tell us that Peter spent a lot of time at the gym? Does it tell us Peter was way up in the CrossFit circuit? No. It tells us, actually, that he received supernatural strength. Something supernatural has happened here. He has an ability to do something he would not normally have had to do. And I think it’s linked to the fact that he was the one who gave the most exuberant display of faith. He heard it was Jesus and he leaped into the water. And now he receives kind of supernatural strength to do what seven people couldn’t have done. This is so important to understand because it’s a principle we see throughout the Bible. It’s that when we give trust to God, when we give faith to God, we receive strength from God because what if every invitation to give is actually an invitation to receive?

He invites us to give him trust, and in return, he gives us strength. We see this principle all over the Bible. We have stories of men like Samson who receives supernatural strength in a moment of faith in God. We see Elijah, the prophet, who put his trust in God and was able to run without growing weary for way beyond the limits of human endurance. When we give trust to God, we receive strength from God. I love the way the prophet Isaiah puts it, “He, God, gives strength to the weary and he increases the power of the weak. Even young people grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord, those who trust in God, who give trust to God, they will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.”

When we give trust to God, we get strength from him. Jesus has come to me all who are weary. And maybe you’re here today and you’re feeling kind of weary and you’re feeling like you don’t have enough strength to be the man or the woman, the husband, or the wife, the mom or the dad, the employee or the boss, or the neighbor, whatever it is, you just feel like you don’t have enough strength to be what God’s calling you to be. Do you understand that God doesn’t expect you to have more strength than he’s given to you? And if you feel like you’ve run out of strength in some area of your life, there’s a very good chance that he’s not asking you to just push through it, he’s asking you to trust a little more. He’s not asking you to try a little harder. He’s asking you to just trust a little more. So, I want you to think of an area in your life where you’re feeling weary. I want you to think of an area in your life where you’re feeling like you’re kind of coming to the end of your strength.

And we all have those areas. I wish we didn’t. Like, I wish that putting your faith in Jesus meant that life suddenly got easy. Has anybody had that experience yet? No? Yeah. Jesus himself said, “In this life, you will have trouble.” Faith in Jesus doesn’t free us from life’s problems, but it fuels us to face them. Faith in Jesus doesn’t free life’s problems, but it does fuel us to face them because when we give faith to God, we receive strength from God. So, think about that area in your life where you’re feeling like you’ve kind of come to the end of your strength. And just ask yourself the question, “Well, what would it look like for me to give trust to God in a place where I’m desperate? I’m desperate and I feel this need to receive strength from him.” What’s that one little step of faith, of trust that you can give him in order to receive much greater strength from him?

Second thing, it’s interesting and what happens here is that he says that this net that Simon was hauling to shore it was full of large fish, 153, which is a really specific number, right? Like, that’s not a fisherman’s number. Fishermen would be like, “There’s about 200.” Right? “I mean, technically, you know, if we’re gonna count by 50s, they’re over the 50s, so now we gotta round up. Right? So, we’re over 5, round up, right? There’s about 200 fish.” But these professional fishermen they knew it was 153. And I suspect the reason that they knew that it was Jesus, like, made them count it. Okay. But what’s the significance of 153? Because it’s a weird number. It’s a big number. It’s an unheard of number. But what’s interesting is that it doesn’t have any real symbolic significance. It’s not a significant number like 3 or 7 or 12 or 40. It’s not a multiple of any of those. And you might be going, well, it’s just how many there were. Yeah, but it’s an interesting detail to include.

What’s the point of this? Now, there is probably a symbolic significance and a symbolic significance to the large group is that Jesus has basically told them earlier in their ministry, he said, “Hey, come with me and from now on you’re gonna catch people. You’re gonna fish for people.” And so this large catch of fish probably symbolizes what he’s gonna do through them, how many people are gonna come to know Jesus through the ministry of these men. It’s a large number, but we’re still left with the, “Okay. But why 153?” And the point of that I think it’s just this. It’s that every individual matters to Jesus. Every one of the fish matters to Jesus. Every one of the people matters to Jesus.

Jesus doesn’t think in terms of crowds. Yes, Jesus wants a bigger crowd. Jesus wants us, the church, to reach more people. He wants a bigger crowd, but he doesn’t think in terms of the crowd, he thinks of all the individuals who make up that crowd. Where Jesus understands that every number has a name. Every name has a story, every story has an ending, and every ending has a sequel, with God or without God, heaven or hell. Every individual matters to God, every story matters to God. And here’s the really great news, that means that you matter to Jesus. He doesn’t think in terms of generic groups. He thinks of the individuals who make up those groups.

John says, “For God so loved the world…” And sometimes I think it’s easy to go, “Yeah. He loved the world. He loves humanity. That’s great.” No, He didn’t love humanity. He loves humans. He loves individual humans. He loves you. He knows your name. He knows your story. He’s counted the hairs on your head. A few of you like me are working really hard to make that job easier for everybody else. He loves you. It also means… And this is important to understand too. It also means he loves everybody you’ll meet. He loves every individual in the world, whether they know him yet or not. He doesn’t think in terms of generic crowds. He thinks in terms of individual people that he loves deeply, that he’s obsessed with. He loves you, but it also means he loves everybody you’ll ever meet. And as a follower of Jesus, you may be the hands and feet of Jesus to that person.

I love the way that Jesus expressed his passion for each individual. He said, “Suppose one of you has hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? When he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and he goes home, and then he calls his friends and his neighbors together and he says, ‘Rejoice with me, I found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” You will never meet a person that doesn’t matter to Jesus. And you may be the hands and feet of Jesus, you may be the mouth of Jesus speaking the truth of God’s love for them, and the fact that God knows their name and he’s interested in their story, and its ending in its sequal. It’s a good news for us, but it’s also a good news for those that we serve.

And so, yeah, we’re called to live on mission with Jesus to invite others to find and follow Jesus, but we’re doing that out of what he’s already given us, right? He’s given us this confidence and his love for us individually. I think that’s the significance of this very precise catch of fish. So, I wonder if maybe it’s worth asking yourself this question, “Is there someone I’m overlooking that Jesus isn’t?” Is there someone in your life that you’re just skimming right past and Jesus is going, “Hang on a second. Slow down and look at them. See them. Be my hands and feet to them.”

It was full of large fish, 153. “But even with so many,” he says, “the net was not torn.” Which is an interesting detail because back when Jesus first invited these men to follow him they had another similar incident. It’s almost deja vu actually. They had a miraculous catch of fish with Jesus’ help. But then it says, “The nets were so full they began to break.” And now John says, “Hey, even though the net absolutely should be breaking with this massive catch of fish, then it didn’t break.”

Why is he pointing that out? He’s pointing us to a reality that I think we sometimes forget, and that is that following Jesus will bless you, not break you. Following Jesus is supposed to bless, not break you. It doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t call us the hard things, but even in the hard things we’re supposed to find blessing, not breaking. And if following Jesus does feel like it’s breaking you, then something’s gone wrong. And it might be that you’re not actually following Jesus. You might be following the world. And here’s the thing, the world is broken. What the world offers you, the world says, “Well, I’ve got the more you’re looking for.” And the world offers a version of that, but it’s a broken version. And if you’re pursuing what is broken, all it can do is break you. So, it may be that if you’re feeling broken down that it’s not actually Jesus you’re following. And maybe you know that or maybe you’ve kind of in your mind you’ve managed to convince yourself, “No, this is actually what Jesus wants,” and it’s not.

It’s also possible that you’re following Jesus, but you’re feeling broken, and the reason for that is because you’re kind of out of rhythm. You’re not following him in the way that he calls you to follow. And what have we seen so far? We’ve seen that Jesus only asks us to give out of what we’ve been given, right? He only asks us to give after we’ve received. We’ve seen that every ask to give is actually an invitation to receive. So, there’s a rhythm going on here.

Jesus said… Again, not, “Come to me all you who have something to bring to the table.” Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Give me yourself,” he says, “and receive rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” And that’s really interesting. Tanner, actually, you just met him a little while ago, pointed out Tuesday in our sermon review, pointed out, “Yeah. Yoke is a work word.” I was like, “You’re right. I’ve never seen that before. That’s so interesting.” Jesus has put my yoke on you. Well, yoke is a work word. It’s what you put on an ox so that it could work. Jesus didn’t say, “Come to me and put my hammock under your butt.” It’s not what he said. He said, “No, put my yoke on you.” He said, “I want you to work. I am calling you to give something but,” he says, “my yoke is easy, my burden is light.” Because Jesus is only asking us to give out of what we’ve been given.

And every invitation to give is actually an invitation to receive because there’s a rhythm. And it’s a rhythm that we see all over life. It’s a rhythm we see all over the Bible, but we see all throughout the world too. Right? Things come in and then they go out. They come in and they go out. The tide comes in and then it goes out. We breathe in and we breathe out. Do it with me. We breathe in. We breathe out. That’s life. But sometimes we just breathe in. And you know what happens if you keep breathing in? You pass out. What you’ve taken in grows stale and unusable.

You know what happens if you just give? If you just breathe out, you also pass out. You end up at the point, “I don’t have anything left to… That’s all I’ve got.” But a lot of us live right there, we look, “God, what am I doing? [inaudible 00:33:03] I don’t understand…. God’s like, “Breathe in, you idiot. Breathe in and breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out.” That’s the rhythm that God calls us to live in. He says, “Receive and give.” And in you’re giving, you’re gonna receive. And as you receive, give, breathe in, breathe out. Following Jesus is supposed to bless you, not break you. And many of us find that we’re living in a place where it’s breaking us. It’s because we’re doing it wrong. We’re living out of rhythm.

Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” The breakfast he’s already prepared for them. He asked them for fish. He gave them fish. They brought him fish. He already had fish. Now he gives it to them. He says, “Have breakfast.” He invites them to the table. Please don’t miss this. What he really wanted was just them at the table.

None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus, he came, he took the bread, and he gave it to them. And he did the same with the fish. This is now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. “You guys have any fish?” “We don’t have anything to bring to the table.” “I’ll take care of it. There’s some fish.” “Hey, would you bring me some fish?” They brought him fish, they found that he already had fish. Not just fish. He also had bread. He gave them more than he asked from them. He offered more than he required. They received more than they were asked to give. That’s the rhythm.

Bottom line, Jesus wants more for you than he wants from you. He wants more for you than he wants from you. If you’re here today and you’re feeling weary and burdened, please hear this truth. Jesus wants more for you than he wants from you. He has more for you than he wants from you. Now, if that’s not how you’re feeling, if you’re not feeling filled up and overflowing, then the question I think that I want you to think about this week is just this, “Am I living in rhythm? Am I living in this rhythm that we see here?” You receive, we give. Are you living in that rhythm or am I doing too much out or too much in? Those are the two places that we get kind of tripped up.

And we all do from time to time, and I’ll be honest with you, I did it this week. I got out of rhythm this week. Easter wore me out more than I thought it did. I had a pretty busy week and then Friday came and I told my wife, “Hey, let’s finish that tiling job we need to finish.” Now, my wife who was way smarter than me went, “I don’t know if that’s such a great idea. I think maybe you need to rest.” I was like, “No, it’s gonna be fine.” It was not fine. It did not go well and, like, I was kind of a jerk. I was short-tempered. I was out of rhythm. I was living… I was trying to do this in my relationship with my wife and I’m trying to get this work done and I’m like… And God’s like, “You idiot, breathe.” Right, right, right. I wasn’t doing it. I make the mistake that we all make.

So, where are you? Right. Are you living in rhythm or is it too much in and you’re holding it in? It’s growing stale? Is there too much out? And what do you need to do to get back in rhythm? Ask yourself that. What do I need to do to get back in rhythm? It’s one of two things. Start giving more. Start receiving more. Would you pray with me?

Jesus, thank you for your mercy and your grace. Thank you that you never ask more from us than you’ve given to us. We acknowledge this truth and this reality. We accept humbly the reality that everything you ask us to give is really an invitation to receive, but we often find ourselves afraid to do that because we feel like if I let go of what’s been given, then I won’t have enough and yet what we’re really asked to do is to open our hands up so that you can put better things in them. But some of us are giving too much. We’re not taking time to receive. And some of us are receiving too much. It’s growing stale and stagnant because we’re not giving, we’re not in rhythm. Lord, we fall off the roof on either side of it but we’ll ask your Holy Spirit right now to speak to us about how to get back in that rhythm. But as we sing this next song, some of us probably need to sing it, but many of us just need to sit and listen to the words of the song and to the voice of the Spirit calling us into the rhythm that you’ve set out for us. Amen.

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