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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Having toiled all night...

Luke 5:1-11 presents a very familiar story of failure and the mercy of God.

Peter experienced failure...Significant, impactful Failure. A lot depended on it and he had invested significant effort in order to achieve success. Fishing for Peter represented:
1) His Identity - Ego, Reputation, Self-worth,
Accomplishment - he was known as a fisherman
2) His Career and source of livelihood - his trade was fishing, provision for his family, school fees, house rent, clothing. His family depended on him fishing (successfully)
3) His Calling: ministry, spiritual gift, a talent, passion

Peter toiled all night and caught nothing… ZERO!
This must have been a big blow considering the 3 points above.

Having toiled all night, Peter had to deal with disgrace and public ridicule associated with fruitless effort.
Having toiled all night, Peter must have been emotionally weak, frail and vulnerable.
Having toiled all night, Peter must have been tired and eager to rest.

However, when Jesus came, He did not focus on Peter's effort, failure, the need to succeed, or next steps. He focused on Peter's potential to serve or Peter's relevance in God's purpose.
Jesus asked him to do more work. Giving up would have been a more natural response than giving in to Jesus' request. But Peter agreed to serve, without regard for how his immediate need would be catered for.

Jesus could have approached any other person, but he was drawn to Peter's emptiness, pain, lack…etc. Jesus is still drawn to our emptiness, but today, Christians want to define the conditions, manner of service, time of service, justify our inability to serve and as such we lose the impact of Jesus being drawn to our emptiness.

For Jesus, the focus is service, the by-product of service is a solution to our specific need.

Peter was not asked to preach.
  • He was asked to give his boat...which at that moment was a symbol of failure and shame.
  • He was asked to serve with the very thing that manifested his failure. He was asked to share his time...the very thing he most desperately would want to use to rest and refresh and be ready for the next fishing exercise.
  • He was asked to focus on others and not himself.
  • He was asked to respond to the Master's needs without consideration of how his needs will be met.

Jesus doesn't focus on the pain, because He provides the gain
Jesus doesn't discuss the problem, because He has the solution
Jesus doesn't discuss the emptiness because He can fill to overflowing.
Jesus doesn't discuss the failure, because success is more interesting to talk about.

Peter's turn around was instantaneous and the effect was stupendous

May we constantly give Jesus the opportunity to turn our failures into successes, our shame into glory and our lack into boat-sinking abundance.

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