But when Simon Peter saw it, 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; henceforth you will be catching men.” Luke 5:8, 10
This is the story where the men had been fishing all night and had caught nothing until Jesus came along and asked Simon and his men to try one more time, with Him guiding them. There is a lesson enough in that for us to ponder on, isn’t there. It shows how our efforts when we rely on our own strength and knowledge can seem fruitless until we look to Christ and where He is leading us. And that is the message I always gleaned from this passage.
But today, these two verses popped out. Before Christ could make Peter the Rock and a fisher of men’s souls, Peter had to acknowledge who he was – a sinner, not worthy to be in Jesus’ presence. So do we. Until we honestly know our place, which is on our knees, our efforts will most likely be doomed to smallness at the least, and failure at the worst. Oh, sure, there are godless people who rise to power and glory, but their kingdoms soon topple into a dusty pile of deceit and greed. The Kingdom of God is eternal because it is built on Love and Truth.
Even if you know God is calling you to a task, until you fall on your knees and acknowledge who is in control, will you really be effective? How easy it would have been for Peter to claim the glory of such as huge catch and be the envy of his village. Instead, he dropped everything and followed Jesus, knowing even greater things were to come in the shadow of His Master. And the neatest thing is this – Jesus took care of Peter’s family. He provided them with enough fish to sell that they would have plenty of income in Peter’s absence – more than Peter probably could have provided in years of labor on his own. Two great lessons – when we realize we are sinners and God is righteous, not only does our purpose in life become clear, our well being is taken care of as well as those around us who are dependent upon us. God will never call you to a task that neglects your responsibility to your loved ones as long as you keep your eyes on Him and do as He tells you. That fact alone is worth falling to our knees.