Devotional Thoughts: Leaving Everything

I haven’t had the guts, honestly, to put together a post about the title of my blog, Trying to Follow. For now, this devotional thought is going to be pretty close to an explanation.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

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.
Luke 5:1-11

Some quick context: Jesus in his career life, had been a carpenter, not a fisherman. So you can hear in Simon’s voice an edge of annoyance “What does this guy know about fishing?” But Simon had seen Jesus heal his mother-in-law earlier from a high fever, so he was aware there was something about this guy, Jesus. Now, about the catch. This was the catch of a lifetime, it was like hitting the fishing jackpot; net’s breaking, boat full to sinking, this was like months worth of fishing in a single catch.
The response is astonishment and humility. But, don’t miss the impact of the astonishment and of what happened; This event so moved these fishermen, that when they pulled up on shore they left everything and followed Jesus, including their get-rich-quick jackpot of fish.

This event wasn’t some magician pulling flowers out of his hat to entice people to join his posse. This would be more like a homeless man walking up to a stock trader on Wall Street and giving him a stock tip that makes him instantly wealthy. One might think that a situation like that would make you happy because wealth and riches is what you always wanted. Isn’t that how we often treat Jesus? Like a genie, we pray to for wishes, and instant wealth is one of those wishes?
For Simon, and in my own life, an encounter with Jesus has caused a complete change in priorities and I’ve gone from pursuing empty dreams to Trying to Follow Jesus. Jesus says, “from now on you will catch men,” which is a bizarre statement, but its probably intended in the same way Jesus just caught Simon, James and John.

Like last week when I talked about Not storing up treasures on earth, I want to talk about how Jesus’ call can seem completely irrational to our logic at times. These Fishermen just went from working class to wealthy in a matter of minutes and then shortly after that they left it all and followed Jesus. My rational would be that they should have stayed, sold the fish, and then they could use their wealth to care for people or pay for their journey, but they just leave the boat full of fish and follow Jesus. It doesn’t make sense to my logic, and yet, I’ve been so moved by the words and power of Jesus in my life, that I desire to follow with the same abandon.

References:

  • It was a Greg Boyd sermon I listened to that pointed out the wealth of the catch this would have been.
  • I peeked at an IVP Commentary for some further context.

8 thoughts on “Devotional Thoughts: Leaving Everything”

  1. That is a great insight. I had never thought of it before but you are right – they did go from working class to wealthy and then left it all behind. We just talked about this in our class this morning … the fact that following Jesus will cost you everything. It was not a popular topic.

  2. Just wanted to say thanks for the encouragement everyone. I haven’t had a post with so many brief, but encouraging comments in a while. I’ll keep writing.

    1. Wow I was just saying to my husband: Where are the true disciples? Ones who give up everything like the fishermen to follow Christ. The through sounds crazy to most. However, that is my desire today. I would leave everything behind to make sure that I could educate folks about his goodness and what he has done to me. However, even saying that to my pastor sounds crazy. I have a great career and can work to no ends if I wanted to. It doesn't matter if it is not glorifying the Lord. There are people on the earth that have no idea of the Good News. God please bless us to move and do your will.

    2. Wow I was just saying to my husband: Where are the true disciples? Ones who give up everything like the fishermen to follow Christ. The through sounds crazy to most. However, that is my desire today. I would leave everything behind to make sure that I could educate folks about his goodness and what he has done to me. However, even saying that to my pastor sounds crazy. I have a great career and can work to no ends if I wanted to. It doesn't matter if it is not glorifying the Lord. There are people on the earth that have no idea of the Good News. God please bless us to move and do your will.

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