It’s so easy to read the Bible and see the people in it as people of incredible faith or to marvel at the miracles that they experience as something that we could never see in our lives. Jesus is here with us today. As much as he called the disciples, he has called us to live lives of supernatural power. He is calling us to step out in faith. We asks us to walk in obedience. He is calling us to feel his power at work in the mundane parts of our lives, redeeming them, and using them to glorify himself.
Hold That Thought, Jesus
We tend to compartmentalize our lives. We make little boxes for the different parts of our world and rarely mix their contents. We step into our spiritual box periodically to check in with how Jesus is doing, and then move on to another box.
That was a nice little church day yesterday, but now it’s Monday! Okay, here I go with work…oh, Jesus, hey! What are you doing here?
Jesus wants to mix into our boxes. In fact, he frequently asks us to turn our boxes upside down at his feet, surrendering the contents to him. We find that this concept of compartmentalization was entirely our idea- not his.
In Luke 5, Jesus is called upon to teach. He teaches using a lesson based on one man’s day-to-day, stinky, dirty job.
Luk 5:1-11 NIV 1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Jesus literally got into the boats of some fisherman who were wrapping up a hard day’s work. We don’t actually even know what he taught on that day, but we know from this scripture that he changed some lives that day. Three men became disciples. What made them special? They said ‘yes’. They walked in obedience.
When Jesus asked to use their boats- not just to use them but for the men to help him reach the people, they said ‘Yes’. Maybe they were like me sometimes when Jesus gets into “my” business and asks me to surrender a part of my daily life to him. I tend to think or act like, “Okay, fine, Jesus. You can have my boat. Okay? Now, leave me alone, I have nets to mend.” I would never talk to Jesus like that, but I live like that all the time.
Then Jesus keeps pushing. In this case, at the end of their day, Jesus asks Simon to go back to work. Simon is tired. He’s got everything set to go back to work early the next morning. But Jesus is calling Simon to more. He asks Simon to trust him and obey the simple call to action in the moment that could seem so stupid.
We all have the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us. The very Spirit of Christ beckons us to more closeness and more fruit. The GivenLife.com theme verse, John 10:10 offers us abundant life in Jesus. The thief is the one who argues, ‘Nah, just keep everything in that box of yours. Why would you want to get your nets back out? It’s time to go eat. Jesus loves you, right? Why would Jesus want you to suffer and waste your time? Let’s go. This can wait.’
Abundant life and the experience of power in our lives requires obedience to the voice of Jesus. Simon surrenders his nets to Jesus’s will. He has a relationship with him in that moment where he tells Jesus how he’s feeling but then says, because you will it…He says ‘Yes’. He goes out into deep water for Jesus. In front of everyone, he goes fishing with a carpenter.
He lands one heck of a catch!
That’s the part that we see in the Bible and think, ‘Man, I wish Jesus would help me land a whopper like that.’ 😒
We see other people who have amazing blessings that we want and let jealousy and regret fill us. That’s not what God is calling us to either. How silly is it that we are there, organizing our piddly little crap in our tiny boxes, all the while resenting that other people have larger boxes with better stuff than us? We need to surrender our boxes to Jesus and let him fill them until they are bursting!
Don’t Settle for Worldly Victory
We can follow this line of thinking. It’s easy for our little human brains to go into this transactional mode and say, “Okay, so I give up a little and then get a lot.” That’s human thinking for you. But it’s also the thief’s voice in our ear that’s trying to keep us from Heavenly riches and exchange them for fish that will eventually be gone, smelling and rotten.
Jesus calls Simon and his friends to more, and he’s calling us to more too. We miss Jesus when we don’t continue to say ‘Yes’. What if we read this scripture and Simon obeyed Jesus up to this point and then said, “See you, Jesus, and thanks for all the fish!” We can see from our current point of view that he would be a fool to be fixated on the heap of fish that he just landed. Simon (Simon Peter) is Peter- the “on this rock, I will build my church” Peter. He had a lot more encounters of power with Jesus waiting for him. In that moment though, Peter was just Simon with two boats full of fish.
Accept Restoration and a Higher Call
Simon is filled with awe and shame at how he doesn’t deserve this miracle in his life. He actually tells Jesus to go away. Can you relate to that? It’s a natural (but unhealthy) tendency to let ourselves languish in shame. We are truly unworthy in the natural world, but we are not merely flesh creatures. We were created and then redeemed by the blood of Jesus. Jesus is calling us worthy. Who are we to tell the King of Kings, “No, Jesus. I know better than you do. I’m actually unworthy. Go away!”
That’s not our job. We have no place telling Jesus that he can’t have us, our boxes of compartmentalization, or the piddly garbage in those boxes. If Jesus says that we are worthy, we need to surrender our pride and accept the higher call on our lives.
Move On to the Next Season
Simon and his buddies don’t just keep fishing. It would be easy for them to believe that apparently, Jesus wanted them to be the world’s best fisherman. Maybe God would bless them with two boats full of fish every night!
Instead, they recognize the pile of fish for what it is: evidence of the glory of Jesus. Jesus is worth pursuing and that means stepping into the next season of life for them. They pull their boats onto shore and follow Jesus to become fishers of men.
It’s important not to let the needs of this world get in the way of a move of Jesus in our lives. Fishers of men make less money than fishers of fish. They ate well and had a blast while they were walking with Jesus, but then Jesus sends them out later with only the clothes on their body and a walking stick.
The season after that? Their Messiah dies. After that? They receive the Holy Spirit and work amazing miracles like Jesus. The season after that? They are persecuted and killed. There are so many ups and downs in life. We need to accept that. We have to know that we are waging war against the forces of darkness and be willing to fight.
The thief wants us to polish our little knick knacks and surrender to him instead of marching into the service of Jesus. Move into the next season of your life. Fight with power on your side. Do the painful thing that is worthwhile. Push your boat back into the water if that’s what Jesus is calling you to next, but also be willing to walk away from that boat if Jesus is calling you to something else next.
How Do I Know What is Next?
Not knowing what is next is totally normal. We are walking in faith. The only answer is connection with Jesus. Keep following his voice. He leads with peace and helps you walk through scary times like we are living through today. It was not easy for Simon to walk away from his job as a fisherman to become a disciple. Simon stepped out in faith to become the Peter he was called to be.
Later, he would step out of a boat and walk on water with Jesus. He started sinking when he took his eyes off of Jesus. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Follow him and you’ll step into what’s next too.