“Hey bro, can I like…use your boat for a sec?” -Jesus
Back then, it was impossible to amplify your voice electronically, and it was not uncommon for Jesus to leverage nature’s acoustics and push a boat out into the water to teach the crowds (your voice carries better over water than it does over land.)
In this case, Jesus used a boat that did not belong to him. It belonged to a total stranger named Peter. Jesus borrowed his boat, taught a sermon on the water, and then he gave the boat back. THEN, as a thank you, he tells Peter to get in his boat and take it a little deeper. He says “let down your nets.”
So the stranger, Peter, actually listens to Jesus—he goes out a little deeper and lets down his nets. And the catch is GINORMOUS! So big that he needed his buddies to come help him pull in all the fish! In this moment, Peter realizes that Jesus is not an ordinary dude…and as soon as he recognizes that he is in the presence of God, he becomes overwhelmed by feelings of unworthiness.
Peter actually tells Jesus to go away from him because he is such a sinful man. But Jesus’ response is amazing. He says “do not be afraid, from now on you will catch men.” Stop and think about that! Jesus tells a stranger, Peter, from now on he would be a…
He did NOT say…
- from now on, you will be more disciplined.
- from now on, you will be more holy.
- from now on, you will be a nice, socially acceptable man.
- from now on, you will read the Bible daily and know more about God than the next guy.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with those things, but THE REASON Jesus invited Peter to follow Him was so that He could make him into a man who led others to God.
I really wish following Jesus was all about me, but it’s not!
If you only knew how often I hear church members saying, “I want more worship…I want to go deeper…I want my kids to have…I want more programs…I want to be a part of the “in crowd” (whoever that is) and I want…I want…I want.”
The central reason in following Christ is NOT about what we want—it’s about what God wants.
He has called us to be fishers of men! He has called us to reach a world that does not know Him. In the words of an old friend of mine…We are called to be fishers of men, not keepers of the aquarium.
And PS –
Can I just say, as a pastor, I’m SO THANKFUL to God everyday for the people in my church who aren’t merely CONSUMING, but they’re in it for the long haul. Church planting is a process that involves waiting, suffering, and sitting through difficult and uncomfortable seasons. It takes time, energy, and guts…not just from the pastor, but from everyone involved. And the truth is, most people aren’t called to be church planters because most people don’t have what it takes. I’m so thankful for those at Oasis who all in, no matter what. You are reaching the world…unlike most people.