Words of Faith 4-4-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!"  For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken,  and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon's partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men."  So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. Can you imagine? No settling of accounts or selling of equipment. They didn't even bother to take the huge catch to market! That was cash money left on the beach for the other fishermen. It borders somewhere between ecstatic freedom and utter irresponsibility, doesn't it? But this is indeed part of the call to discipleship.
The call to discipleship actually frees us in some remarkable ways. Peter, James, and John left their fishing business for Jesus. We often hear preaching about how these disciples HAD to leave everything. The truth is they were set free. Fishing had been their source and their significance in life, and now they were free from that. The Lord would be their source and significance in life.
The call of discipleship presents us with this same exhilarating possibility. We don't have to resign from our jobs in order to work for Jesus. It is an entirely new perspective when we determine to work for Jesus-- and allow our job to be just one of the tools and places He will use.
This may call for some radical changes in perspective. I often ask myself the question: Am I depending on anything other than Jesus? As a disciple, whatever I am depending on other than Jesus, I need to dry dock it. Whatever I have been trusting other than Jesus, I need to pull it up on shore. Whatever I have made the center of my life, other than Jesus, I need to put it aside and focus on Him.
Does that mean that a Disciple cannot have a job? Not at all. In fact, the Apostle Paul had a job. He made tents. But his job existed ONLY so that he could be in ministry, focusing on the call of Jesus in his life. His job introduced him people and possibilities for ministry as well as paying for the sustenance of life. If our job is our identity-- our center and our core-- we have missed completely what we are called to be about.
The truth is that Jesus transforms vocations much more than He replaces them. From that point on, if anyone asked Peter what he "did", he could answer "I fish... for people". If anyone asks what we do as disciples we would do well to answer, "I follow the Lord Jesus Christ and share His Kingdom". "My job at the bank allows me to do that." "My job at the school allows me to do that." "My job at the hospital allows me to do that." "My job at the church allows me to do that."
So what does the life of a Disciple look like? A friend recently wrote to me about seven signs to know that one is following Jesus Christ. I know that I'm a disciple of Jesus Christ when:
- I obey the Holy Spirit without hesitation or argument.
- I am committed to do the will of Jesus no matter what.
- I am available to serve Him anytime, anywhere, and at any cost without regard to circumstances.
- I recognize His ownership of my life (in my family, finances, future, and so on).
- Pleasing Him exceeds my desire to please myself and to please others.
- I look to Him as the source of all my needs and desires.
- To know Him intimately becomes the obsession of my life."
I am sure that Peter never forgot the day he got a fishing lesson from a carpenter. They probably laughed about that one many times. But John's Gospel tells us that Jesus had to remind Peter of that fishing lesson again at a time of despair. It was when Peter was devastated after betraying Jesus and then watching him die. Peter went back to that boat and those nets. Jesus came alongside the lake and began to make "fishing suggestions" from the shore. "Why don't you cast on the other side of the boat?" There was another enormous catch after which Jesus asked Peter, "Don't you love me more than these nets?" Sometimes Jesus has to remind us of the call.
I wonder if maybe Jesus is calling you into the deepwater. It is a call to stop just being part of the crowd and actually follow Jesus, fishing for people. Is He calling you to refocus? Discipleship is a place where you serve more than you are served. You give more than receive. Jesus calls us to be deepwater Disciples. He calls us to be deepwater families and deepwater churches.
Dear Jesus, I am ready. No more cleaning nets while You are trying to talk to me. I am ready to follow You wherever that may lead. Transform my life. Transform my vocation. Transform my family and my daily walk with You. In Jesus' name.