The Apostle Peter was arguably Jesus’ right hand guy throughout His ministry. Then there was an inner core of the twelve disciples which included Peter, James, and John who got an inside view of things (Mt. 17:1, 26:37; Mk 5:37, 9:2, 14:33; Lk. 8:51, 9:28). The Apostle Paul referred to these three as the “pillars of the church” in Galatians 2:9.
If you look carefully at how Jesus recruited these three standouts, we find an interesting observation.
One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the waterâ€™s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, â€œNow go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.â€ â€œMaster,â€ Simon replied, â€œwe worked hard all last night and didnâ€™t catch a thing. But if you say so, Iâ€™ll let the nets down again.â€ And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, â€œOh, Lord, please leave meâ€”Iâ€™m such a sinful man.â€ For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. Jesus replied to Simon, â€œDonâ€™t be afraid! From now on youâ€™ll be fishing for people!â€Luke 5:1-10
Jesus gives them more success than they’d ever known before. This experience is what they’d always dreamed about ever since they went into the fishing business. I’m not sure what an equivalent level of success would look like for you, but it could be an unbelievable book deal, or promotion beyond your wildest dreams, or notoriety in your industry, or millions of social media followers, or more profit than you know how to spend. What success in your life would leave you “awestruck?”
More importantly, what would you do next if you suddenly had all the success you’d ever dreamed of? Here’s what happened with Peter, James, and John:
And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.Luke 5:11
Evidently Jesus had a good recruiting strategy. After tasting success, they didn’t need to chase it anymore. They didn’t decide to franchise, or buy a bigger boat, or hire more fishermen. They left it. It had lost its appeal compared to following Jesus.
What if Jesus gave you what you always wanted in order for you to let it go?
Jim Carrey once famously said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that itâ€™s not the answer.â€ That’s essentially what Jesus did to recruit his inner circle. After they had caught a record-breaking number of fish that would have set the town talking of their skill, they just walked away from it all and followed Jesus to something else. They knew that success in fishing didn’t fill them.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t experience success or have other pursuits in our life. But I’m challenged by this story to consider what success I’m chasing in my own life and how I envision it might complete me to some degree. Perhaps we should pray prosperity-type prayers for each other. Not because we believe God wants only to make us healthy, wealthy, and wise… but because we might taste those things and finally move on to something bigger Jesus has for us.What if Jesus gave you what you always wanted in order for you to let it go? Click To Tweet