We have a fish hanging on our wall by the kitchen table. It sits under our picture of Jesus at the table with his disciples, giving thanks. I call it our Miracle Fish. It came after this story impacted my life this summer.
Luke 5:1-11 (NIV)
One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
In that moment with dazzling glistening floppy fish, as if he were a king surround by golden treasure, he saw through the earthly treasure, to the eternal gift- meeting his Lord and he was overwhelmed with the bareness and brokenness of his own life. Jesus did not care so much about Simon’s previous track record, because Jesus knew what greatness Simon had been created for. Jesus had no doubts about Simon. But he did ask him to leave this miraculous fish-filled boat and do a new thing.
I love that in this story Jesus addresses Peter’s first thoughts: fear. Jesus acknowledges Peter’s fear of inadequacy. I am often like Peter.
I love that in this story Jesus called these men when they had just reached their best success in career. The most fish ever caught. There could have been an award or a guinness book of world record.
I love that in this story Jesus called them from the known into the unknown. That’s the story of our life. We all enter new seasons that no one can fully prepare us for. There is a bit of courage and risk taking, faith and trust needed for that next step.
I love that in this story Jesus didn’t ask them to leave a little bit of their life. He asked them to leave everything.
This story causes me to stop and think. What is it that I hold on to? What is my miracle fish that points me to Jesus, calls out my fears and challenges me to a new way of living with Jesus?