Devotion for September 15, 2021, from Pastor Tim Huff of Holy Trinity:
Be A Verb
The story of the New Testament is the story of people who got close enough to Jesus to catch his dream. Doesn’t it amaze you how followers left whatever they were doing to follow Jesus?
18As Jesus was walking along the sea of Galilee, he watched two brothers—Simon, who was called Peter, and Andrew— casting a net into the sea. They fished by trade. 19Jesus said to them, “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of humankind.” 20They immediately abandoned their nets and began to follow Jesus.”
(The Inclusive Bible)
Doesn’t that seem rather abrupt to you? What, no discussion? No “we’ll think about it and get back to you tomorrow?” No “don’t call us; we’ll call you?” Could we not say that these people acted rather impulsively? Evidently, they were caught up in Jesus’ dream and vision. There must have been something very impressive about Jesus for them to act. People usually don’t get swept up by just any ordinary run-of-the-mill person. There was something special about Jesus –some indefinable quality that set him apart.
There also must have been something special about Jesus’ dream and vision. Jesus came preaching that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” What was there about that kingdom that got these people so excited? Jesus had a vision for the world, a dream, a picture of how life is intended to be. Jesus saw a world where God ruled in every heart–a world of righteousness, peace, equality and justice. A world of love, harmony and unity.
Sure, Jesus talked about heaven and life in the hereafter, but he also had a vision for this world. He called it the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God. Jesus said that this kingdom is at hand. It is available. It is not merely a distant dream. It is a present possibility.
The followers got excited. They were swept up in Jesus’ dream. They believed such a world was possible and they gave their lives to see it become a reality.
That brings us to a third truth: The disciples got excited about the role they would play in bringing about the realization of Jesus’ dream. Jesus said to them, “I will make you fishers of humankind.” He was calling them to introduce people to this kingdom of love, this kingdom of heaven on earth. They would not be passive spectators of this Kingdom, but active participants. And they would make a difference, a lasting difference in their world and in individual lives. No wonder they were excited. They were going to help change the world.
I had a friend in High School who was taking French. I once asked him how he was doing in class. He said, “My French is excellent except for the verbs.” It was a very engaging bit of self-deprecation. But the description of his difficulty with verbs has a wholly unintended relation to the Christian faith. Many people could say, or have it said about them, that their “faith is excellent, except for the verbs.” They know their adjectives and nouns, but their verbs are rather weak or absent. The Christian faith is oriented to verbs. Jesus said in John 13:17: “Once you know all these things, you’ll be blessed if you put them into practice.”
Ours is a faith of verbs. The first book of Christian history is called, fittingly, The ACTS of the Apostles. This chronicles not only the thoughts of the apostles and the early church, but their acts as well.
Jesus’ invitation to the disciples always had great verbs in them: “If anyone would come after me, let them take up their cross and follow me.”
What are you and I doing as a person, a disciple of Jesus, to put verbs into our faith—to find a need (there are plenty around) and fill it? What are our congregations doing about the verbs of our faith? What we need to see is that the kingdom of heaven is still at hand in this world. It remains a very real possibility wherever there are followers of Jesus who are willing to LIVE out that which they believe.
So, let’s put our verbs into ACTION!