2.08.2010

Putting down the net

Luke 5:1-11

I know that just dropping our nets to follow Jesus seems awfully hard. We have families, jobs, responsibilities. But our fear of the all-or-nothing may be unfounded. In fact, it may be a mechanism to reduce our own responsibility..."I can't do it all, so why do anything."

I note two things about Jesus' approach to Peter and company. First, their calling here is evolutionary, not revolutionary. They are to use their aptitude and experience fishing to "catch" people. And while they "drop their nets" their needs are met and they are not too far from family -- at one point in their travels Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law, so they are nearby or their families travel with them.

Second, they are not called to give up but to expand their lives into something much bigger. Yes, Peter stops "fishing," but he is called into a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a witness to history, and given the gift of seeing what God is up to first-hand. The Peter who sat in the boat couldn't have imagined public speaking; and by Acts he's preaching to and converting thousands.

This, I think, is what Jesus offers us: He wants to use our talents and gifts (God-given as they are) for a bigger purpose, and he wants to release the potential in us. That is scary because we are accustomed to the safety of the ways we have already defined to use our gifts and potential. But we can trust that God can accomplish more in us, if we stop holding on to what is safe and known and just follow.

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