Abandoning success to pursue a calling

Matthew 4:18-20 18As He was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He noticed two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, throwing a dragnet into the sea, for they were fishermen.  19And He said to them, Come after Me [as disciples–letting Me be your Guide], follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men! 20At once they left their nets and became His disciples [sided with His party and followed Him].

One of the coolest things about the gospels is that each one tells the same story, but the details are a little different. This happens to be Matthew’s account. Peter and Andrew were fisherman before they were ever disciples. Jesus sees them, says “Follow me” and they drop everything and become His disciples. That in itself is awesome! They left their job, their boats, their nets, their families and forsook everything to follow Jesus. If you read this same account from Luke’s perspective though, you will see just how awesome it really was.

Luke 5:1-11 1NOW IT occurred that while the people pressed upon Jesus to hear the message of God, He was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret (Sea of Galilee).   2And He saw two boats drawn up by the lake, but the fishermen had gone down from them and were washing their nets.  3And getting into one of the boats, [the one] that belonged to Simon (Peter), He requested him to draw away a little from the shore. Then He sat down and continued to teach the crowd [of people] from the boat.  4When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon (Peter), Put out into the deep [water], and lower your nets for a haul.  5And Simon (Peter) answered, Master, we toiled all night [exhaustingly] and caught nothing [in our nets]. But on the ground of Your word, I will lower the nets [again].

 6And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish; and as their nets were [at the point of] breaking,  7They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and take hold with them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8But when Simon Peter saw this, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.  9For he was gripped with bewildering amazement [allied to terror], and all who were with him, at the haul of fish which they had made;  10And so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon (Peter). And Jesus said to Simon, Have no fear; from now on you will be catching men!  11And after they had run their boats on shore, they left everything and joined Him as His disciples and sided with His party and accompanied Him.

Remember this story, how Peter and his crew had been fishing all night and hadn’t caught anything? Then Jesus told them to go back out and lower their nets again. Not only was Peter’s boat filled, but he also had to call to his partners to help him and their boat was filled too. What I love the most is that as soon as they get back to shore with the biggest catch of their lives, they leave it behind to follow the One who gave them the blessing. They didn’t stop to benefit from their catch, they realized that Jesus was their source and if they left everything to follow Him their needs would always be met. It would have been easy to leave and follow Jesus when their efforts had produced nothing, they didn’t have anything else going on right? But how much more did it mean that they abandoned natural success to pursue a spiritual calling? To many it probably didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but Peter, Andrew, James and John didn’t let anything stop them from running after their destiny.

 What has God called you to do? I encourage you to do whatever it takes to fulfill that call, to go after it with everything you have. Regardless of what it costs, regardless of what others think, listen to the voice of Jesus as He says, “Follow me.”

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