Our guest speaker last Sunday was Kingsley Armstrong from Ireland. His Irish brogue and sense of humor was such a novelty and joy to listen to. However, it was the content in his message that particularly held my attention. He spoke about “writing our own story” instead of allowing others to write our story for us.
His thoughts about the Apostle Peter catching a boatload of fish after catching nothing during the night left us with some powerful implications. In Luke 5 the disciples were washing their nets by the Lake of Gennesaret. After fishing all night and catching nothing, the empty nets revealed only the story of their failure. It was a story of discouragement and defeat.
Jesus came by the disciples and saw their dejection. He asked Peter to launch his boat out and to let his nets down once again to prepare for a catch of fish. Peter told Jesus his story, “Master, he said, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
I like what the scripture says about Peter in verse 9: “For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken.”
I think you would agree that it is quite astonishing for all of us to see what God does to bless so powerfully the missionaries and this congregation during our world missions conference.
It is through your efforts and obedience to God’s word that the world is touched by your prayers and giving. We have written our own story of what God can do through this congregation from a small community in northwestern Wisconsin.
Our story is a faith story that starts with a belief that we can make a difference in this world through obedience to God. It is a story that is told in regions of the world even unknown to us by pastors and missionaries who have attended conferences here and witnessed the love, compassion, and generosity from this congregation. Our story has been adopted by other pastors and churches in this nation which multiplies our efforts to bless the nations with the gospel of Christ’s love, compassion, and forgiveness.