I am a huge fan of the Incredibles.
Not just because the narrative arc is flawless and the use of super powers combined with character development is sublime. But because there’s something true at its core.
Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl (a.k.a. Bob and Helen) are trying to live out a normal suburban existence - selling insurance, vacuuming the den… But underneath the surface, they’re superheroes.
It’s what makes their “day jobs” so ridiculous. They were made for more. And the movie is all about them living into that.
Now, I know it’s fictional, and superpowers probably don’t exist. [Telekenesis?] But the story resonates with us, doesn’t it?
We go through our day to day existence living and working and sleeping and buying things on our phone, but deep down we know this can’t be all there is.
There’s a reason we were born. Which is what we’re going to talk about today.
This is the final week of our series, “You were made for more,” where we’ve been exploring the “eternal kind of life” we were made to experience.
· Deep community
· A thriving relationship with God
· Freedom from strongholds
· And today, a destiny.
We’re going to look in the Bible at a story of one man discovering the reason he was born, and I believe it will teach us a lot about discovering our own.
This is the story of the Apostle Peter being called to follow Jesus. Luke 5. [House Bibles]
By the way, Peter’s given name is Simon and Jesus later changes his name to Peter. So Simon/Peter… Same person.
One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”
“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.
Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
I find this story profound. Let me show you why.
First of all, it helps to try and imagine what it would have been like that day. The hot sun, the smell of fish, maybe the sounds of an open air market nearby…
Into this very ordinary scene comes Jesus, this radical new rabbi who was healing people and teaching that the long-awaited kingdom of God was finally arriving.
He was basically a celebrity. It’s a big deal when the teacher everyone is talking about shows up in your town. Even the people who didn’t agree with him would have wanted to hear what he had to say.
The crowd following him is so thick that Jesus can’t even get a word in. But here’s the twist. Peter’s not in the crowd, is he?
Just a few verses before, in Luke 4:38, we see that Jesus had recently healed Peter’s mother-in-law. So it’s possible Peter had already met Jesus and maybe even witnessed one of his miracles.
And yet what is he doing when everyone else is trying to listen to Jesus preach? Look at verse 2.
“[Jesus] noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets.”
Peter is working! Here’s this celebrity, miracle-working rabbi in Peter’s town, and this fisherman is too busy washing his nets to hear what Jesus has to say.
Why is he doing that? Well, the Bible doesn’t tell us. But I wonder…
I wonder if he didn’t feel worthy. Or was embarrassed at how he smelled. Or didn’t think he was smart enough.
What if Peter was ashamed to be near Jesus?
In that day, every Jewish boy would have been raised learning and memorizing the Bible. They’d learn passage after passage by rote until they could quote long sections from memory. That was basically what school was until you were old enough to learn your father’s trade.
Occasionally, a student would rise to the top and get noticed by his teachers. He would go on to rabbinical school and maybe even become a disciple of a prominent traveling rabbi. He’d be part of this rabbi’s inner circle.
But not Peter. He wasn’t a scholar. He wasn’t a great thinker. He was just a fisherman. And that’s all he was ever going to be.
It’s not much of a stretch to think Peter was washing his nets instead of listening to Jesus because he had already been told following a rabbi was nothing more than an impossible dream for him…
Why pretend to be something you’re not? There’s work that needs doing. These nets aren’t going to wash themselves.
Again, the Bible doesn’t tell us. We don’t know why Peter wasn’t with the crowd, but we do know he got caught up with what happened next.
Jesus chooses Peter’s boat so his voice can project across the water. He preaches. He tells them to go out to the deeper part of the lake. And even though Peter is skeptical, he does what Jesus says. That’s when they pull in the biggest haul of fish they’d ever seen.
Peter’s response to this says a lot about his character. And it kind of breaks my heart. Look at verse 8:
When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me - I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.”
Think about that: Peter’s first response to the power of Jesus is to think of his own sin and shame. He isn’t honored or excited about the celebrity on his boat. He is horrified to think that someone so holy and powerful is in the presence of someone as sinful and common as himself.
“I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.”
Pause the story for a second. How many of you have felt just like Peter in this moment?
How many of you have felt that you are too sinful or too uneducated or too ugly or too poor or too ordinary to be in the presence of Jesus? Or too broken be here at church around all these other people who seem so much more put together and worthy than you?
How many of you feel like your sins or mistakes or shortcomings have put a ceiling on how much your life can really matter in this world?
Because if you’ve felt any of that, I want you to pay close attention to what Jesus says to Peter next. Look at verse 10.
Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!”
With these few short words, Jesus meets Peter right where he is and gives him a life-changing message: Peter,
You were made for more.
He says, “Don’t be afraid!” In other words, your sin doesn’t scare me, Peter. You are worthy to be my follower. You are worthy to be my friend.
“From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” I know how ordinary you feel, Peter. I see you in your shame and failures. You think you’re no more than a fisherman? Fine. But I see you fishing for people - drawing others into the love and salvation of God.
With these two simple sentences, Jesus is calling Peter to a life beyond himself. A life beyond the ordinary. A life of purpose. A life of trust. He is calling this smelly, uneducated, unworthy, unimportant nobody to join him in his mission to change the world.
“You were made for more, Peter. You have a destiny. Will you follow me?”
Peter’s response is not with words, but actions. Verse 11.
As soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
Peter dropped his nets. He left his boat behind. And just like that, his life was never the same.
What happens next for Peter is amazing.
This humble fisherman went on to follow Jesus through three years of epic ministry. And it was wild. Peter walked on water, he cut off a dude’s ear, he was one of the first to declare Jesus as the Messiah, yet he went on to deny Christ three times at the crucifixion…
He literally saw Moses and Elijah with his own eyes at the transfiguration.
At one point, Jesus tells Peter,
“You are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church.”
Then there’s a moment in the book of Acts, right after the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples on Pentecost, where Peter - this uneducated fisherman - gets up in front of a huge crowd and preaches this powerful message which blows everyone away. When he’s done, this is what it says:
Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day - about 3000 in all.
Peter cast a new kind of net that day and drew many people into the kingdom of God.
· After this, Peter performed miracles.
· He healed people.
· He was the first to bring the gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles.
· He wrote letters we still read in our Bibles today.
· He was a powerful influence in the early Church.
· Roman Catholics think of him as the first Pope.
Every single one of us is in this church today in part because of the work of the Apostle Peter.
And all of it began that day on the shores of the Sea of Galilee when Jesus got into Peter’s boat and told him he was made for more.
Luke 5 is not just a neat little origin story. It is an explosive turning point in history, the moment where Peter began a journey to discover the destiny for which he was born. The world was never the same.
What I love most about this story is the fact that it isn’t just ancient history. No. It’s a story enacted again and again in the lives of all who follow Jesus. It’s your story too. And mine.
Let me explain what I mean.
Here are Grace we have a way of thinking about this idea of destiny, and I want to draw it for you. It starts with an idea from the book of Romans. [Draw first circle]
For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
Creation is groaning. In other words, the world is broken. It’s not what God desires.
We think of this brokenness in 6 distinct ways. The six broken places.
· Separation - Humans are separated from God. That relationship is broken.
· Pain - People are suffering from the brokenness of their bodies and their minds.
· Isolation - So many people are alone and desperate for love.
· Hatred - There is so much violence, racism, and discrimination in our world.
· Decay - The physical creation itself is suffering from the abuse and neglect of humans.
· Injustice - Our world is full of things like poverty, hunger, disease, and slavery.
Each of these broken places are what makes the world “groan,” as it says in Romans. This isn’t the way it’s meant to be.
But God is working to heal these broken places. How? Well, take a look at this. [Draw second circle]
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Each one of us was created with a purpose - to do good things. What are those good things? To heal the six broken places of the world.
To bring lost people back to God. To heal pain and decay. To fight against injustice and hatred and isolation. This is why you were born.
Right here - where these two circles intersect - this is your destiny.
Before the very creation of the world, God had a special purpose in mind just for you. A way of using your skills and gifts and perspectives and passions - to heal the broken places of our world.
This is why some of these broken places make your heart start beating faster. It’s why, when some of you hear about injustice or decay it makes you sit up a little straighter in your seat. You were made to help heal them.
It’s also why some of us are good at administration and others are super creative and others have an endless well of compassion. God made each of us unique and gave us each unique skills and gifts.
We are each one of a kind people designed with a one of a kind purpose in mind.
There is no one just like you on this planet, and your destiny is yours and yours alone.
This is what Jesus sees when he looks at you. A superhero working in a cubicle! Just like with Peter, he longs to meet you right in the middle of your shame and brokenness and imperfections and lovingly say,
You were made for more.
DREAMS AND OBSTACLES
This gets me worked up for two reasons.
First, when I look out at this room - When I think about the people at our other campuses or watching online or those in our children or student ministries - I am overwhelmed.
I am overwhelmed when I imagine all that God has in store for us. When I think about just how much this world would change in Jesus’ name if we all lived in to our destinies.
It fills me with hope to imagine this church coming alive with purpose and life and to imagine the broken world around us being transformed.
But I also get worked up when I think about all that stands in our way.
The culture that we live in is dead set against this. Just like Peter, we are told by the world that we don’t have much value.
Day after day we are bombarded with messages that you don’t matter at all… unless you make more money.
· Or you have more followers on social media.
· Or a better car.
· Or nicer clothes.
· A bigger house.
· More retweets.
· A perfect wedding.
· Beautiful children.
· The latest phone.
· The coolest hobbies.
· The most attractive friends.
Every ad we see tells us that our life just doesn’t matter… unless we click here. And we buy it. We buy the lie that all this stuff is what we’re made for.
And so we spiral into self-indulgent navel-gazing and we miss the true reason we were born.
This culture wants you to believe that you are a nobody. That you don’t really matter. That you are just a no-name, uneducated fisherman who has no right to be in the presence of a rabbi.
Imagine what would have happened if Peter had bought that lie. Imagine if he didn’t follow Jesus when he told him he was made for more.
Peter could have ended up an elderly fisherman on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, watching his sons and grandsons take up the family trade, and telling everybody in his village again and again the story about the time Jesus of Nazareth borrowed his boat.
If he had believed the lies about his shortcomings and worthlessness, and bought the message of what the world says is important, Peter might have turned down the offer to follow Jesus. He could have left the whole disciple thing to others more qualified than himself.
But that wasn’t the story God had in mind for him. That wasn’t his destiny.
Peter was made for more.
Now, hear me when I say this. There is nothing wrong with having a job. Being a fisherman was a perfectly fine profession. I’m sure there were other folks on the lake whose destiny was to keep fishing and spread the gospel to other boat captains.
But that wasn’t Peter’s destiny. Peter’s destiny was to fish for people - to heal the separation between thousands of people and God - and that’s exactly what God used him to do.
The life God has for you may very well include building a career and raising a family and having a house and a car. You may be on social media and upgrade your phone from time to time. But none of that is your destiny. That’s not why you were born.
Your destiny is to be used by God - in whatever circumstances you find yourself - to heal the broken places of this world.
You were made for more.
So how do you do it? How do you discover your destiny? It must be really complicated, right? Actually, it’s not.
Think about Peter’s story. Verse 11. “As soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.”
Peter definitely didn’t know how the rest of the story would go. (He might have had second thoughts if he did!) He just heard Jesus say, “follow me,” and he left his nets behind.
You can do the same thing. You can drop your nets of self-sufficiency. Your nets of guilt and shame. You can drown out the lies of your worldly identity and become the person God sees you to be.
You don’t have to know the end of the story. You just have to be willing to turn the page.
To take a step towards your Ephesians 2:10 destiny and to start healing the part of this groaning world that breaks your heart the most.
What it takes is surrender. Surrender to the idea that God has your best life in mind. A life that matters.
My brothers and sisters, you were made for more. God loves you so much, and he is inviting you to join him in his mission to heal this broken world.
You have a destiny. Will you leave your nets behind?