“Time. Out. They left all of those fish??” This thought came into my mind as I read a passage I had read a gazillion times before. Luke chapter 5. Surely most of us have read this chapter. It’s where Peter, James and John had been out allll night long trying to catch some fish, but alas – none were biting. I think many of us can relate to how sad it is to leave a fishing trip empty-handed. 🙂 No big fish stories to tell. No fish to fry up. Nada. Nothing. Zilch.
Jesus knows exactly what these men had gone through but chooses not to address it right away. Instead, he gets on Peter’s boat and has him take it out a little on the Sea of Galilee so he could preach to all of the people on the shore. It wasn’t until after his sermon that Jesus told Peter to go out further and cast out his net again.
Now remember – Peter had seen Jesus heal his own mother-in-law. He knew what Jesus was capable of and he had just sat under one of his sermons. He had literally heard words from God Himself. Yet instead of immediate obedience, Peter voiced his doubt to Jesus and then it seems he begrudgingly obeyed. When his net suddenly became so full of fish that it started to break and he had to call for back-up, he realized how foolish he had been for doubting Jesus.
This is the part that stuck out to me for the first time. All of those hours with no fish and they finally had so many that two ships were sinking from the weight of them….yet, what does it say they did? Jesus told them not to worry because from now on they would be “fishers of men”…and…wait for it…”they FORSOOK ALL, and followed Him.”
Hold the phone. All of that waiting. All of that disappointment and exhaustion. Then all of that exhilaration. All of those FISH! Yet they FORSOOK ALL. WOW!
The entrepreneurial side of me is thinking, “Wait. Did they sell the fish first so they could have some spending money? Did they fry up some fish for the road?”
Nope. The Bible simply tells us that they FORSOOK ALL and FOLLOWED JESUS.
Most of us identify best with how Peter first “obeyed”. He hesitated. He doubted. He tried to reason with the very One who had made fish in the first place. Then he was humbled and finally obeyed. We easily identify with that Peter.
But the Peter who left his comforts and “what made sense to him at the time” behind and followed Jesus with abandon? That’s the Peter we struggle to be.
We’ve been alive long enough to see God’s perfect track record. We know what amazing things God is capable of. We know that everything consists only because of Him. In hindsight we can always see how He had even the most intricate detail of our lives planned out perfectly. Yet we hesitate. We doubt. We try to reason with Him. Then we are once again amazed when we realize God had it handled the whole time. This process of over-thinking and doubting will often humble us and bring us to our knees.
No need for the rhetoric. No need for the “what if’s?” or “what about’s?”.
Be willing to forsake what makes the most sense to us at the time. Be willing to give up the comforts. Be willing to drop everything in order to serve Jesus with abandon.
The truth of the matter is that Peter didn’t need those stinky ole’ fish anyway. When we follow Jesus, we have everything we need.
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