“One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.” luke 5:11, NLT
this past saturday night we had a fun conversation about the calling of the first disciples in luke 5:1-11. part of the power in the Bible is being able to identify with the story, to notice the intersections with our own life & to notice what God might be stirring up in us in the midst. in our conversation together there were a few observations about the story that i want to highlight here for those of you who weren’t there and are just reading for the first time.
God always chose the least likely. these lowly fisherman weren’t the last pick, the ones left over. they were the first pick. i don’t think we can ever dismiss the message that Jesus continues to embody–the ways of the kingdom are totally counter-cultural to the ways of the world and many religious systems. when peter saw the loads of fish in the net, he cried out “i’m not worthy.” my guess is that many of us feel unworthy, too. what do we have to offer God? what do we have to offer others? maybe in the world we don’t have the skills or the talents or the put-togetherness, but in the kingdom none of that seems to matter. this passage cries out “the least, the last, the willing”, that’s who Jesus seems to continually point to.
to be a disciple means that we must become students of the Teacher. that means that we will have to humble ourselves and respect that we have a lot to learn. we can all say that in theory but actually submitting ourselves to the master’s teaching is whole other story. “following” requires humility & a softening of our pride, ego, and all things that keep us in control of our own destinies and comforts. also, students don’t learn everything at once; real learning is a forever process. we are more infiltrated with the worldly message of “quick, easy, success” than we probably even know, and i’m guessing it really affects our ability to lean into the long & never-ending work of ongoing transformation.
everyone’s “calling” is different & one isn’t more important or better than another. for some, it is a big one–God is asking us to make some big shifts in our life, give up something that is comfortable and familiar for an entirely new direction. for others, it might just be a prompting to risk ourselves in a way we aren’t used, a calling to trust God through action in a relationship, situation, or experience. and then there’s everything in between. the big idea is that if we each have to listen to what Jesus is stirring up in us individually. what is he calling us to that scares us, no matter how big or small.
if we listen to the voices rattling in our head or from the outside, we will always find ways not to go. we explored some of the voices that come rushing in when we hear the stirring, the call to “follow”, whatever that may look like some of these voices might say “what if you fail?” “you’re not good enough to do it”, “what if that’s not really God’s voice?” “it’s just not possible” “who do you think you are trying that?” “change is just too hard” “what if i heard wrong?” the list could go on and on, but in this passage it seems to me these first disciples didn’t spend too much time listening to the voices. they took a chance, they went.
marty shared a quote she had recently heard that is really worth pondering,
“fear, resistance and struggle is all in your head. your heart is the part with the courage and the wisdom. live from there. act from there.”
there were so many other thoughts shared. if you were there and have a few others that stuck out to you, please share them here.
this year i really want to explore what it means to humble myself & follow. to go where i’m afraid to go. to follow God’s lead to the low and scary places. to learn what it means to be a student of the master.
ps: at the end of our gathering, we had a little journaling exercise to take home and consider this week for those that wanted to explore this idea a little more. here are the questions:
- Read Luke 5:1-11
- Looking back, what are some decisions that you have made that have made you proud, that you are glad you took?
- Is God stirring up something in your heart, a step you are contemplating to somehow ”follow him”?
- How will this step require humility? Courage?
- What are some of the obstacles in the way (real or perceived or just things rattling around in your head) that might keep you from moving forward? What would it look like to overcome them?
- What would you like to see transformed in your life journey?
- Read Psalm 138