The First Disciples

1One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee,a great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets.3Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon,b its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.

4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”

5“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.” 6And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.

8When 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.” 9For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. 10His 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!” 11And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.

Some people have all the luck. Jesus just happens to borrow Simon’s boat. Simon hadn’t done anything special before that, at least not that we know of. And then “Poof!”, the boat ends up full of fish. Actually, two boats end up full of fish. A windfall profit for such a minor thing as letting a homeless preacher borrow your boat.

But let’s hold on a second here.  Do you really think Jesus, the Son of God, didn’t arrange for all this to happen? As a matter of fact, I’m betting Jesus even kept the fish safe from Simon’s nets the night before. I don’t think things just happen when God is around. So let’s look at the story a little differently.

Simon, James and John got up and went to work through the night. They did what they were supposed to do. They knew Jesus, he had stayed at Simon’s house earlier and healed is mother-in-law. Now Jesus wanted to borrow the boat. They didn’t ask him where he was last night. They didn’t bitch and complain that we know of. They just gave him the use of their boat, which was the means of their livelihood.

Then this homeless preacher gets finished with his sermon and he asks them to go back to work. If you can’t see Simon rolling his eyes and hear him sighing as he agrees to lower the nets again, you need to read the story again. But despite his despair at the suggesting he did what Jesus told him AGAIN, and suddenly the fish came in.

Finally Simon does that one last thing, that made all the difference. He looked at his blessing, looked at himself, looked at Jesus, and realized he was in over his head. He knew he was not, and never could be, worthy of the blessings and goodness of Jesus because he was a sinful man. And in that realization and humble confession he became a person Jesus could use to lead his church.

Jesus, help me to do the little, boring things you call me to do day after day. Open my eyes to your presence and your guidance. Help me to give you anything in my life that you can use, or want to use. Help me to see how full of fish my boat is day after day. And then Jesus, with all the power of your Holy Spirit, open my eyes to my sinfulness and unworthiness and your greatness and goodness so I will become the humble servant you can use however you please. 

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