The scripture we read during Mr. Overaggressive Church Softball Player was from Luke about Peter cutting off the high preist's guard's ear and how maybe that kind of action is not appropriate in Jesus' eyes. But I want to use this Blog for another scripture passage, John 6:16-21...Jesus and Peter walking on water.
I was approached by a church member after this week's sermon who didn't think I was giving Peter enough credit (which I disagree with, but the focus was Peter's faults so I'll give it to him), and I should uplift the disciple more.
I agree again. One of my favorite scripture stories is that of Peter stepping out of the boat to go meet Jesus on top of the crashing waves. Talk about overaggressive...
No person in their right mind gets out of a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee to try and walk on water. But then again, no person in their right mind leaves a moderately successful fishing business, tax collecting business or otherwise to follow Jesus either. Carrying that forward, no one travels to Juarez to build houses amongst all this violence either.
The point is that our aggression is to be used for the Kingdom. We are to be daring, adventurous, willing to go meet Jesus in the scary and dark places, where we might possibly drown, with faith that Jesus is the light to guide us through. Does this mean we'll come out unscathed or alive? No...not in earthly terms. But it does mean we'll be living into the Kingdom of God the way we were meant to.
All that is the popular sermon on this scripture passage, but the part that I see as important is the burn out part. There's a part where Peter looks down and realizes, "Shoot! I'm walking on water" and he becomes afraid and starts sinking. Two things in this. It became about fear and safety rather than pursuing Christ, and he lost focus.
One of the general problems we have in churches is that we have some of the greatest, most ambitious, most intelligent people who want to serve Christ, and do in an awesome way. But they start to be the only ones who raise their hand, while the less ambitious people sit and watch, in faith that those people will get their jobs done. Eventually these people get burnt out...they look down...and realize they've been walking on the water this whole time.
The only thing that kept them going was their tunnel vision on Christ. They had a goal, and no amount of turbulence or trouble was going to derail them. No amount of tiredness would slow them down. But we're human. We have limitations, no matter how steeped in Christ we are.
I think Peter just lost focus for a little bit. It doesn't take anything away from him as a great man of Jesus, he just got tired and lost focus. It's training ourselves to always look up at Christ that gets us through.
It's also about the other disciples stepping out and helping him get all the way...rather than staying in the boat where it's safe.