“What’s Your Worth?”
1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Luke 5:1-11
There’s a time in everyone’s life when they sit down, probably with their spouse, maybe thinking of their children, they might have some bank statements, bills, a spreadsheet and wonder where it’s all heading. Where is the money coming from? Where’s it going? How much will we need?
For some people, this time is their “What am I going to be when I grow up?” moment. The time when we sit down and finally decide, “This is it. No more messing around, it’s time to get serious about family, work and future.” We may make some lifestyle changes so we can put away money for retirement, we may begin to think about our jobs and how they will provide for the future, we may even think seriously about where we live and how much money we put into housing.
It’s the time when we decide about our future, and how we want to live in it.
Reading from Luke today, we read about Jesus teaching on the shore of a lake. The crowds are getting a little too close, so Jesus retains the services of a couple of boats owned by local fishermen, who were cleaning their nets.
When Jesus finished teaching, I guess he felt the need to reward his new friends for their generosity in lending their boat. So Jesus told them to let down the nets into the water.
Simon said they had been fishing all night and not caught a thing. But since he said so, they would try again. (It kind of makes you wonder what Jesus had been teaching that would convince experienced fishermen to go out when they know there are no fish)
But there are fish. There are so many fish their nets begin to pull apart. So they call another boat for help.
There are so many fish, the two boats almost sink from all the weight.
Simon, amazed by what is happening, asks Jesus to leave. He says, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!”
They are just so amazed at what Jesus has done they immediately know they are in the presence of someone pretty special, and they confess their sinfulness to him.
Jesus looks at the three men, Simon, Andrew and James and tells them to not be afraid. From now on they will be catchers of people because of their belief in what they heard and saw that afternoon.
When they brought their boats ashore, they left everything behind and followed Jesus.
These men, just moments ago, confessed to Jesus they are unworthy of being in his presence, and now they hear his gentle call to follow him and be part of his ministry.
We also heard from 1 Corinthians 15 this morning, hearing from one of the great evangelists of all time, Paul. Paul mentored many church leaders, he planted and supported many churches. Paul’s letters fill a good part of the New Testament of the Bible, and we hold his teachings to the first churches in high regard.
Paul continues to encourage the people of Corinth in this letter. In what we read this morning we hear of what Jesus has done.
Jesus came and died for our sins on the cross, just as was predicted in the Old Testament.
And also as predicted, he was buried but rose again after three days from the tomb. From there he appeared to hundreds of people after his death, to continue teaching and saving people.
Here’s the interesting part from the reading… Paul says, “Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”
As an evangelist, Paul is in his second career. Paul was once known as a man named Saul. His name alone struck fear into the hearts of Christians because he was the most zealous persecutor of the early Christian church.
Saul was ruthless, Saul was unapologetic, Saul was dead set against Christians.
But as he said, Jesus appeared to Saul and changed him. Jesus came to the most feared man in all of Christianity and turned him into the greatest evangelist the church has ever seen. A man named Paul.
Paul says it was “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them–though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”
Paul was so changed by Jesus, that all of his hate, all of his zeal for persecuting the church was turned completely around. Paul was now using this energy he once used to chase down Christians to lift up and support them.
Outside of Satan, Paul was probably the greatest opponent to the early Christian church. When looking for someone to help build the church, Paul would have been the VERY last person Peter and the other disciples would have chosen.
Talk about Simon, James and John and their confessions of being too sinful to be in the presence of God, what about Paul’s sinfulness?
Yet, God chose him to be a great disciple and builder of the church.
Paul looks back at his old life and considers himself blessed to have had God show His grace to Paul and let him live and be a productive member of the church. One he knows he did not expect, or deserve.
You know, there’s a reason why God is God and I am not. If I was God I think I probably would have wiped out civilization over and over by now. We keep messing things up so badly.
We get greedy. We judge others who live differently than we do. We try to fix things ourselves and just end up making a bigger mess than before. We fight and go to war all the time. We cheat on our spouses. We steal. We don’t help others when we should.
Humankind is a mess.
Yet, God still loves us.
God still uses us despite all of our failings.
God still calls us to serve and love one another.
We may think we are unworthy. We may look at the beautiful perfection of Jesus Christ and say, “I can’t do that, I’m too weak. My sins are too great for God to use me.”
Think of all the people in the Bible who are used by God, despite their sinfulness. Today we heard of the disciples and Paul.
None of our sins are greater than God’s love. If God can love Saul, who became Paul, how then can God not use you?
I titled this message, “What’s Your Worth?”
Often we look at our worth by looking at the negative aspects of our life. I’m too old. I’m too young. I’m not experienced enough. I don’t have enough money. I’m not good at anything. I’m too short. I’m too tall. I’m too clumsy. I’m not pretty enough. I don’t know how to do it. I can’t learn. I might fail.
We use all these excuses and many more to say why we are not worthy enough to do what God might be calling us to do.
Do you think these are the things God uses to determine our worth?
God determines our worth by love. How much He loves us. Even when we feel we’ve let God down, He still loves us.
God loves you. God wants to be close to you.
God wants you to know exactly how much you are worth in His eyes.
What’s your worth?
More than you will ever know.