“Put out into the deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” – Luke 5:4
Where I work, we are big on choices. If we as teachers are doing our jobs correctly, anger, along with any sense of “forcing” a student to do anything is non-existent. You comply with what we ask you to do, or you don’t.
In a similar way, Jesus has laid out the path of life and death. In Luke 5, Jesus gives Peter a choice. “Cast your nets into the deep water.” Here’s the thing: Peter didn’t want to. In fact, they had already had their nets cast and caught nothing. They had their nets all dried, packed up, and were ready to call it a day.
“Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” – Luke 5:5
What do you do when asked to do something you don’t want to do? If you are like me, it depends on who is asking. If I, like Peter, believe Jesus is the Master, I’ll comply. If I don’t believe He is my master, then I won’t. The choice that is laid out is clear: either comply or don’t. Follow Jesus and His ways, or don’t. But, as we are about to learn, it just isn’t worth it to refuse Him.
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. – Luke 5:6
What a reward! This was probably the catch of Peter’s life. It meant a wonderful payday. It meant food on the table. It meant another story of “Let me tell you how good God is and how He blessed me.”
If the story stopped there, it would be perfect for American Christians. The majority of American Christians think that because we complied with Romans 10:9 that we are going to heaven when we die. The problem is that most people, instead of confessing Him as “Lord” confessed Him as “Savior.” There is a big difference. If He is Lord, then He calls the shots, you either comply or you don’t.
Peter chose Jesus as Lord of His life. He complied, and he got blessed tremendously. The boatload of fish was only a small part of the reward. Here was the real reward:
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” – Luke 5:8
Who told Peter he was sinful? Nobody. What is this all about? Peter received the greatest reward that this life offers: a real revelation of who Jesus is and just how holy God is. He got to tap into the Glory of God just for a moment.
Five years after becoming a Christian, Jesus asked me to do something I absolutely did not want to do. Only because I believed He wanted me to, and the fact that I believed He could be trusted, I did it. He rescued me out of trouble. Later that week, I pondered just what He did for me. His presence engulfed me for the first time and all I could do was tell Him “I am so sorry” over and over. After just a few seconds of what I know now as either the glory of God or the presence of God, I asked Him to cut it off . . . I just couldn’t take it. “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
Many would think that because I got out of trouble, that this was the reward for my obedience. Thank God it didn’t stop there. The real reward was a real and powerful sense of His Presence. Since that moment, I have spent the rest of my life chasing after God as hard as I possibly can. I have fallen in love with the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Just like Peter did.
That’s the real reward.