You go to the garage to get your car checked out. You go to the pizza shop to get some pizza. You go to the doughnut shop to get some doughnuts and coffee. You go to the mall to get some new clothes.
I go to the gym to try and get in shape. I go to the doctors to get well. I go to the grocery store to get food.
Is it just me, or does it seem like we only go to places where we get something from?
Is this why we are tempted to ask this question, what do we get when we go to church? At first, we might like what the disciples get here from Jesus.
After His resurrection, Jesus visits with the disciples several times. On one of these occasions, Jesus meets them after a long night of fishing. After fishing all night, the disciples did not catch a thing. Jesus tells them to cast out again. So they did.
When they did, they caught a lot of fish. John records this for us in John 21:
9 When they landed, they saw a fire there, with fish on it, and some bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you’ve just caught.” 11 Simon Peter got up and pulled the net to shore. It was full of large fish, one hundred fifty-three of them. Yet the net hadn’t torn, even with so many fish. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.”
The disciples get blessed with a lot of fish from Jesus. They even get to have breakfast with Him. They get a lot being with Jesus.
I am afraid too often we have built this expectation into church. We must get something from church. We become focused on what we can get from church and from Jesus. We hope like the disciples here to get an abundance. We might not need the fish, but maybe a new job, better health or a better relationship.
Jesus quickly turns the conversation around. He goes back and forth with Peter a number of times. Jesus asks Peter if he loves him. Peter responds that he does.
17 He asked a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”Peter was sad that Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” He replied, “Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.”Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 I assure you that when you were younger you tied your own belt and walked around wherever you wanted. When you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and another will tie your belt and lead you where you don’t want to go.” 19 He said this to show the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. After saying this, Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me.”
Well, Peter learns that if he wants to get killed, then go ahead, follow Jesus. The amazing thing for me is that Peter does indeed choose to follow Jesus, and yes, Peter will be killed for following Jesus.
Is this what Peter gets?
Peter was there. He saw Jesus die. He saw Jesus buried in the tomb. He saw the empty tomb. Peter saw Jesus alive again. Peter would learn that Jesus did all of this for him.
Jesus died so that we can have life, not just here and now but for all of eternity. Francis Chan has a great illustration that puts our lives truly in the perspective of forever. You can check it out here.
This should raise this question, why do we spend so much time worried about what we can get now in this life?
In Christ, we have been given life. We have this. When we “get this”, the only thing that makes sense is to go and live for Him. Paul writes:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
May this be our prayer, to worry more about our going than our getting.
(All scripture cited above from Common English Bible Copyright © 2011)