Today’s Thought: How do I answer when God asks for my help?
“Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:4-8)
A friend recently shared this quote with me: “At the end of a long day, I love getting into bed and turning off the lights so I can spend eight hours thinking about every mistake I’ve ever made.” I chuckled a little, if only at myself, because it’s how I’ve spent many nights in my life. Something about the silence and the darkness sparks self-reflection and before long, I’m ruminating down a rabbit-hole lined with personal failures—perceived and real. Those late-night journeys get imprinted into my subconscious. As a result, I manage to replay them whenever God (or anyone) says, “I need your help.”
In Luke 5:1-11, Jesus begins calling his disciples, a group of twelve who will help him spread God’s good news. He had been preaching in the synagogues of Judea, but on this particular day he was being urged to speak by a group of people as he walked alongside a lake. In an effort to put some distance between himself and what had become quite a crowd, Jesus climbed into Simon Peter’s fishing boat and asked him to “put out a little.” It was from the boat that Jesus preached the gospel to the crowd, to Simon Peter, and to fellow fishermen James and John.
When Jesus finished preaching, he told Simon Peter to “put out into the deep” and let down his nets to catch fish. Even though the fishermen hadn’t caught anything all night, Simon Peter—who had been listening to Jesus’ preaching and who now called him ‘Master’—agreed to do what Jesus asked.
The men, who had caught nothing all night, now gathered so many fish in their nets that their boats almost sank.
That’s when Simon Peter’s brain hit ‘play’ on the collection of all of his past failures. He suddenly felt guilty, ashamed, and too full of mistakes to do anything the Master Jesus might ask of him. He fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”
Jesus knew Simon Peter’s heart. He knew Simon Peter was afraid that Jesus might find out who he really was and see all his unworthiness. But Jesus already knew everything, and still he said: Don’t be afraid. I know every bit of it. And I will take all that you are and redeem every sin for good. I have helped you catch fish; now I need you to help me catch humankind for the glory of God. Immediately, Simon Peter, James, and John left everything and followed Jesus.
Friday Faithful: Writer John Haynes Holmes (1879-1964), penned the lyrics to the hymn “The Voice of God is Calling” in 1914:
The voice of God is calling its summons in our day;
Isaiah heard in Zion, and we now hear God say:
“Whom shall I send to succor my people in their need?
Whom shall I send to loosen the bonds of shame and greed?