Tag Archives: Obedience

A ‘BUT’ Kind of Faith.

Luke 5:1-11.

Everyone else was asleep while they worked.  Seasoned fishermen knew this could well be a catch to remember. The weather and the conditions of the water were absolutely perfect for fish and lots of them.  Out they went, full of anticipation of the catch they would harvest.

They were in their boats all night and didn’t catch one single fish, not even one suitable for bait.  They were stunned, disappointed to say the least and maybe even a little mad.  They couldn’t believe it.  Everything was perfect, how could they have been so wrong?

Have you ever been there?  You knew in your gut you did everything right – you prayed, planned and made provision for that one thing that could well have been your last step, the provision for your upcoming winter season.  You were ready, excited and believing not only yourself, but GOD that this was your moment…only to have absolutely nothing to show for your efforts.

So there you are, like Peter and his buddies, on the shoreline, tired, disappointed, washing dirty nets, with no result to show for your effort.  Should they quit fishing?  Would you?

Sometimes despite our best efforts, even after we’ve sought God’s will and His blessing even in the area(s) we are really, really good at, things don’t turn out like we expect them to.  I believe these things have two purposes:  1) to teach us our ‘good catches’ don’t come from our own hands and 2) just because we think we know everything there is to know, do everything right and by the book, that doesn’t ensure perfect results.

 

Peter was an expert fisherman making his living fishing. He probably knew everything about where he was fishing and all the signs to look for before he sat out that night.  He had it going on where his craft was concerned, yet he caught nothing. There he was, on the shoreline, cleaning his nets of everything that accumulated in them – less fish – which had to sting a little – a hands-on reminder that perhaps he didn’t know as much as he thought he did, his all-night effort for nothing, or a combination of both.

Then Jesus shows up, gets in his boat to preach and after He’s finished, tells Peter to set out again and this time, go to the DEEP water.

Peter had two choices. He could have presented a viable argument to Jesus – “Look I’m a fisherman – fishing is what I do. I make my living fishing.  In addition to that, I’ve been out there all dadgum night and caught nothing; nada.  To go back out, and to the deep no less, is…well…it makes no sense.” Instead, as tired and discouraged as he undoubtedly was, he decided to do what Jesus told him to.  The end result changed Peter’s life forever.

What will we do?

  • I lost my temper today and had every right to BUT because you say it’s right, I’ll apologize.
  • Had my heart broken so many times by people I thought I could trust and depend on BUT because You say so, Lord, I will forgive and even bless them.
  • I did my very best at my job, everything I was asked and more, but didn’t get the promotion BUT because You say I should, I will keep on doing my best.

Do you dare trust God one more time?  Do you dare allow His word to supersede even your best judgment and experience?  Do you dare say, “BUT I will do as You say…”?

Disappointments in life will surely come, even to those who have never experienced them.  That’s no time to quit or not believe in what is possible through the One who loves us the most, the One who wants more than anything to show us He has your best interest in mind, even when He allows things to come our way which He knows will deeply hurt and disappoint us.  Do we have a ‘but’ kind of faith? Let’s do, just because He says so and see what happens.

“But when Simon Peter saw that he fell down at Jesus’ feet saying “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord! For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken.”  Luke 5:8, 9

May the ‘nets’ of our hearts be as full of hope and amazement as those boats were of fish that day.

 

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Inconveniently Incompatible.

I’m training for a new job which uses similar software of my other job.  I was delighted to hear this and thought how convenient that would be in many ways, thinking I could use the same for both jobs and I’d be a step ahead in the training process because I was familiar with how to use it. When I clicked on my already installed program, I discovered I couldn’t get to where I needed to go for training.  Bummer. This meant I would have to have two separate operating systems and one computer won’t support that. True, I’m familiar with the software so that part of the training will be easier, but another computer is a necessity.  Convenient quickly became inconvenient.

In the quest to plant their feet in the Promised Land, Jericho was the first city designated to be taken. In Joshua 6 the Israelites were specifically instructed that after the walls of Jericho fell they were to kill every living thing in the city (with the exception of Rahab and her family) and to take nothing except certain things God instructed them to take (6:18-19).

Take nothing.  Take nothing.  They were told not to even look upon the plunder so they wouldn’t want it.  Apparently that wasn’t direct enough for Achan (7:1) who loaded up what he shouldn’t have.  When they got back to their camp God told Joshua the people had been disobedient and to go through family by family until the unfaithful one was found then burn what he took, everything he owned and kill his family, which is what Joshua and the Israelites did.

The punishment seems a little harsh for the crime, doesn’t it?  I mean, a whole city had just been destroyed.  They killed every living person and animal. They gathered what God said to gather. What’s a little extra?  Who would know?  So one person out of thousands disobeyed which had an effect on the rest of the people.

The second generation of Israelites were wandering in the desert, having grown up in the wilderness with no material possessions but the clothes on their backs and shoes on their feet.  It was all they knew.  They come into this destroyed city which God says is theirs and see all this stuff (although fire damaged) so from a human perspective, it’s easy to understand why they would be attracted to picking some of the spoil left behind and in another case that may have been fine…but God said to take nothing.

Sin and obedience, even when we think it’s insignificant and won’t affect anyone, are incompatible.  We may get away with our compromise for a little while but sooner or later if we don’t deal with it, God will.  To many living in the 21st century, this seems ridiculously harsh but these stories are in our Bibles to show who God is and how He deals with His people and (especially) willful disobedience.

Incompatible things won’t cohabitate well.  Try as we may to make them work, there is a glitch…an uneasiness…even if it looks and acts like it works.  Just like the software I mentioned, I probably could have found a way to make it work, but I was told I needed two separate applications of the program so I made the decision to get another computer.  Rather than bring problems upon myself and more importantly jeopardize the new job and maybe even my current one, I decided to be obedient.

If there’s some little persistent thing in our lives we think doesn’t matter rest assured, it does.  It could be the thing that robs us of the peace Jesus so wants to be ours.  More importantly, though inconvenient and perhaps embarrassing to deal with, our ultimate goal should be to live to please God, be obedient to Him so far as we can control.

Let’s do an inventory.  Where have we compromised?  What have we watered down?  What have we brought with us that we know we shouldn’t have?  Our obedience could very well be the gateway to our next blessing.  Don’t risk it.  Deal with it. When we do and ask for forgiveness there may be lingering consequences but there will always be God’s mercy and grace to help us through making it right.