For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him. – Luke 5:9-11.
This scene came about after Jesus had finished speaking to a large gathering of people. They had all been gathered on the shore and Jesus had gotten into Simon’s fishing boat asking that they push out a ways from the shore. There from the boat Jesus had talked to the people. After he was finished he asked Simon to do what He knew Simon would think was an absurd thing to do. He asked Simon to “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch (Luke 5:4b).” Simon responded with what could only have been frustration and tiredness as he said this to Jesus, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net (Luke 5:5).”
Simon Peter and his friends had worked all night and had not caught a thing but now they try again. What happens is that they catch so many fish that both of their boats begin to sink from the weight of the fish. It had never happened before and they knew, that they knew that only God Himself could make something like that happen. The Bible says that when Simon Peter saw this happen, “he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!’”
It could only be through Simon recognizing that Jesus was God Himself that he could make the decision that he made to leave his career in fishing and begin to follow Jesus. Can you imagine the conversation that he must have had with his wife? “Honey, I’m going to stop fishing and begin following this Rabbi Jesus around for three or four years.” The Bible does not record that conversation and I think we know why. I just read this last week that when pastor’s wives were asked what the most devastating thing was that had happened to their marriage that half said that it was when their husbands entered the ministry.
Leaving all and following Jesus is not an easy decision but it is the only decision to make when you come to the realization that the Lord Himself is calling you and that He knows more about you than you know yourself. I can still remember sitting at our dining room table having my quiet time one morning when the truth of God’s call upon my life was staring me in the face through His Word. God spoke in His still small voice and I heard.
When you know that you know that the Lord wants you to do something with your life how do you turn away? However, the sad fact is that so many of God’s children try to keep Him at arm’s length so that they are never faced with that decision. They don’t pray, at least not enough. They don’t read the Bible, at least not more than a token amount. They don’t go to church more than on Sunday mornings. So how would they ever hear? How will you ever hear if you never talk with your Lord, you never seek His will for your life as you study the Scriptures, if you never seek to hear His voice as you worship Him and listen to the messages that the preacher preaches?
Sometimes lightning does strike and God imparts a vision or in some other way communicates with a person to gain their attention for what His will is for their lives. But it is very, very rare. God is still speaking today and He wants to speak to you. You have to let him in as James says in James 4:7b, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” God has something for you to do with your life – let Him tell you.
(When God speaks it may turn your world upside down.)