Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, "When did we give you something to eat or drink? When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear or visit you while you were sick or in jail?"
The King will answer, "Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me." .......Matthew 25

Monday, March 30, 2009

"Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!"

Last Thursday I received some wonderful news. The Toh Kian Chui Foundation wrote to say that they will be sponsoring our school building project with a donation of S$10,000. I was jubilant to say the least. Praise the Lord!

We had already started on the school building in
Phum Leav but have been operating on a deficit. I was mentally prepared for the reality of running into a bit of red, but the donation brought us just over the top, with a bit of excess that can be spent on exercise books and school swings for the children. God has really been wonderful, and faithful in providing for the project. Each cycle of fund raising brings forth just about the right amount, with a bit of excess as if to encourage us.

This last weekend's sermon had an interesting lesson for me. It was based on Luke 5's narrative on Simon Peter's call to discipleship. Jesus had called Simon to lower his nets, after a miserable failed night's fishing. Simon reluctantly obeyed, and was rewarded with a bounty he never expected.

But it was Simon's response that struck me. While the average individual would have celebrated the catch. Praised God for the blessings He had bestowed upon them. And certainly many of Simon's co-workers were already patting themselves on the back and perhaps leaping from the boats in jubilation. But not so Simon. This 'not-so-smart', bluff, temperamental fisherman saw a spiritual truth no one else did. When he should be celebrating like everyone else probably did, Simon could only see his degenerateness and Jesus holiness and divinity. "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" Was all he could say.

What a moment! Such a revelation could only come from the workings of the Holy Spirit.

So the sermon had an unintended consequence of being a bit of a rebuke for me. So often when God blesses us, especially when we had been doubtful of His faithfulness to provide, we see only the bountiful catch. It is of course not wrong to celebrate...and certainly not wrong to give thanks for His goodness. Praise the Lord, we proclaim. But how many will actually respond like Simon? How many will like Simon, allow the Holy Spirit to reveal in that moment, our total and absolute degenerateness and depravity, and see in contrast, His holiness and divinity? How many will like Simon fall on their knees and confess in shame, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!".

May God forgive me for I have been a sinful man.


Anonymous said...

I can identify with you Ed. When I look into God's holiness I am keenly aware of my own sinfulness. Jesus’ promise to Peter that he will catch men was fulfilled in Pentecost when 3000 were saved. Here the nets are breaking; later the church would be bursting at its seam! May we be obedient to the Lord's command whenever He impresses upon us to do His will.

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