I was reading in Luke 5 the other day and thinking about that interesting reaction Peter (at this point he’s still called Simon) has when Jesus teaches from his boat, and then asks him to put out his nets again.
He’s kinda like… “Uh… we’ve been fishing all night but alllllrightttt….” [cue Peter slowly beginning to move toward deeper water to put nets out while he waits for Jesus to say “Oh, really? Then never mind.”]
And you remember what happens next, right?
They do of course catch loads of fish (because, Jesus, y’all!) and it’s such a great number of fish their nets are breaking and they have to get help.
When Peter sees it all, he knows something miraculous is happening, right? His next move kind of fascinates me, though. He falls down at Jesus’ knees and says:
“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, Lord!”
It seems like Peter was so painfully aware of his own shortcomings he was certain they disqualified him from even being in the presence of Jesus.
Maybe you can relate?
Have you ever felt too painfully inept, too woefully unqualified, so very less than that you are just sure you need to go ahead and find the B Team that is going to warm the bench because that’s where you belong?
Maybe you think your past disqualifies you.
Maybe you think your education disqualifies you.
Maybe it’s your speaking skills, your people skills, some physical, mental or spiritual limitation you can’t quite see past…
Whatever it is, maybe you’re convinced you do not earn a spot on the Jesus team to do the big, the great, the glorious and miraculous things.
But make no mistake, there’s a reason this is also right there in Luke 5 – in case you didn’t catch the message when Peter made the cut – that Jesus also calls Matthew and people start voicing complaints about the unusual team Jesus is putting together. Do you remember what He says?
“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
So there’s this paradoxical truth at work here. Do you see it?
It’s our very awareness that we don’t deserve to be on the team that qualifies us to be on Jesus’ team.
It’s our awareness that we are sinners, we fall short, we are not deserving of the gift of forgiveness or the gifts of the Holy Spirit, that means we’re ready to be filled up.
Our awareness that we’re jars of clay is what makes us ready to hold the treasure!
And the closer we get to Jesus, the more, like Peter, we’ll probably feel aware of our own sin and shortcomings.
Last week we talked a little bit about what goes on inside our heads when we make mistakes, and in a way I want to ask that same question again.
What’s the narrative going on in your head? What’s the story you’re telling yourself?
Do you trust that your ability to serve God in great ways has nothing to do with your qualifications and everything to do with God’s power?
You are on the team. You are in the Beloved. You can do GREAT and glorious things for the Kingdom of God.
Your prayers have power.
Your words can make amazing things happen.
There is no second string in the Kingdom of God, my friend.
Like Peter, you and I can keep turning our hearts toward Jesus, honest about how unqualified we feel – but also trusting that He is everything we need, and He has everything we need, to make it possible to do all the great things He created us to walk in.
Let’s get out of the boat this week (and every week) and walk like we believe it.
P.S. Could you use a weekly pep talk like this, or some daily guidance to help you find your way into a deeper walk with Jesus?