Being Rescued from the American Dream

March 3, 2016

by Erin Bird

Remember some of the life dreams you had when you were a kid? I dreamt of being a detective who solved crimes - or a pro athlete.

But as many kids get into high school and college, their dreams begin to shift. Some dream of getting married and having kids. Some dream of getting their own home someday. Some dream of an amazing job or large income. Some dream of driving a fancy car or hitting it big in some field like music or film.

But those dreams are too small. Right now, we are in the season of Lent, preparing for Easter Sunday. I want to invite you to not just give up food, alcohol, soda, or TV for Lent. I want to invite you to give up your dream for Lent - to let God rescue you from the American dream and replace it with a God-sized dream.

And to see that, we are going to look at Luke 5:1-11. (I encourage you to pause here and go read it for yourself. I'll wait. 😉

Peter, Meet Jesus

When Simon Peter met Jesus, he was a fisherman. He grew up the son of a fisherman. He was trained to be a fisherman. Fishing was all he knew. So it's natural to assume he had fisherman dreams. He probably dreamt of a boat-load of fish. A huge catch would mean lots of money, a full stomach, and the respect of everyone around.

But when this new-on-the-scene Jesus of Nazareth jumped in his boat mid-day and said, "Let's go fishing," Simon was NOT expecting the fulfillment of his dreams. He thought this carpenter-turned-rabbi was probably off his rocker just a bit - you don't fish mid-day. You fish in the cooler temps of the night and early morning when the fish are closer to the surface feeding. But Simon humored Jesus and dropped his nets, even though he knew the fish were deeper than his nets could reach.

But the unthinkable happened. As soon as Simon dropped the nets, they began to teem with fish. So much that the nets began to break! Simon and his brother Andrew called for their partners, James and John, to hop in a boat and come help them. When all was said and done, BOTH boats were overloaded with fish.

Jesus had worked a miracle. He gave Simon far beyond anything Simon could have asked for or imagined.

Yet notice Simon Peter's response. You would think that the fulfillment of a dream would have him whooping and hollering in excitement. Or he might start hugging Jesus, thanking him for fulfilling his dream. Or he might even jump into the water and start splashing around in celebration.

But he doesn't do any of that. Instead, he falls at Jesus' feet and says, "Depart from me, for I am a sinner."

So often, the dreams we think will give us happiness - money, fame, relationships, or loads of fish, - just end up leaving us empty. They don't fulfill us the way we thought they would.

So often, the dreams we think will give us happiness - money, fame, relationships, or loads of fish, - just end up leaving us empty. But Jesus didn't load the boats with fish to fulfill Simon's dream. He loaded the boats to rescue Simon from his dream - his earthly, self-centered dream - and give him a God-sized dream. Jesus looks at Simon and says, "Come, follow me, and I will make you a fisher of men."

Simon's dream of a boat-load of fish would have only given HIM more money, would have filled HIS tummy, and made HIM the most famous guy in town for the week. But that sort of dream is too small. Jesus loved Simon enough to rescue him from his small dream and invite him to impact eternity, which is the sort of dream that can only be accomplished by the power and grace of God.

And when you read Acts 2:38-41, you see God's dream for Simon Peter's life more than fulfilled.

So this Lent, I invite you to not just give up soda, chocolate, or TV for Lent. I invite you to also give up your earthly dream. Let Jesus rescue you from the American dream and replace it with a God-sized dream. Don't settle for a small dream that just seeks to make your own life a little better, but a dream that changes the eternity of others.

So go catch men and women and children! Love them with the love of Christ, sharing with them your heart, life, and gospel, inviting them to find and follow Jesus.

Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

News & Notes in Your Inbox

Receive Riverwood's "News & Notes" weekly email in your inbox. Submit your email address below and stay in the loop.

Subscription Form

Riverwood Church, Waverly Iowa

We are on a mission to help people love like Jesus loved and live like Jesus lived.

It doesn't matter to us if you:

  • are a Wartburg student or a grandparent,
  • vote Democrat or Republican,
  • are married, divorced, or single,
  • have gone to church for years or haven't been to church in years,
  • make $100,000/yr. or wonder how you're going to pay rent this month,
  • or fear your past mistakes make you unlovable to God or others.

No matter where you are in your spiritual journey, we want to help you become who God has created you to be.

About Us
Join Us Sundays Starting at 9:30am CST
Last Week's Sermon