One day, as Jesus stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, with a crowd gathered around him listening to the word of God, he caught sight of two boats left at the water's edge by the fishermen now washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to pull out a little from the shore. There he sat and continued to teach the crowd.
When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch." Simon replied, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing. But if you say so, I will lower the nets." This they did and caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. They signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came and filled both boats almost to the point of sinking.
Upon seeing this, Simon Peter fell at Jesus' knees, saying, "Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!" For he and his companions were amazed at the catch they had made and so were Simon's partners, James and John, Zebedee's sons.
Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid. You will catch people from now on." So they brought their boats to land and followed him, leaving everything.
(Luke 5:1-11, Christian Community Bible, Catholic Pastoral Edition)
We read this story during our MV Coordination Meeting last Thursday and here are the things that struck me (thanks to our team leader who was God's powerful mouthpiece that night):
Verses 1-3: People come because they want to experience Jesus, they want to hear God's word, they want to be blessed. God called us for a very special purpose - that is to love Him and to make Him loved. Our mission is to share Christ and to make others experience what it's like to be loved by Him.
Verses 4-5: We are here because the Lord told us to do so. When the Lord tells us to do something, we need not argue, we can ask, but we simply need to obey and trust that Someone greater is in control.
Verses 6-7: When you say yes to God, expect two things: struggles (because we are following a man in conflict) and abundance (shared about how the Lord has surpassed even his long-forgotten prayers).
Verse 8: Everything is about God. It's not about our weaknesses but about God's strength; not about our sinfulness but about God's mercy and grace.
Verses 9-10: We are missionaries. And we will always be. That being said, the privilege of saying "no" to the mission has already been taken from us. Unfortunate? Remembering how the Lord has been faithful in providing for our needs, how He has been generous in giving us what is only the best, how He has been forgiving and understanding of all our mistakes and shortcomings, how He has loved us to the end, who are we to say no?
Verse 11: Deny ourselves, leave everything, and follow Jesus. It is the last thing mentioned because it truly is the most difficult thing. But in the end, it will be all worth it.
Apostle means sent. Christ is the one who chooses His apostles and sends them in His name. Where will He find someone to send except among those who are willing to cooperate with Him? One begins to be an apostle, or at least to cooperate with Christ, when one looks for something more than performing good works for the benefit of the church, when one feels responsible for people: fisher of people.
|Photo Credit: Eric E. Kidwell|
Ponder: Having experienced God's deep love, are you willing to go into the deep to catch souls for Him? :)