Hello blog family, welcome to our exploration of Luke 5:1-11, a powerful passage that unveils the remarkable intersection of faith and obedience. In these verses, we witness a pivotal moment in the early ministry of Jesus as He calls His first disciples. It is a story of fishermen, a miraculous catch of fish, and an invitation to leave everything behind and follow Him.
Grab your Bible, Journal and a glass of water and let’s dive in
1) My career/business is a ministry platform
Over the last couple of years, God seems to be redefining what we know ministry to be. And pointing believers to see how powerful a platform their jobs and secular pursuits can be if they only let Jesus into their “boats”.
Ministry as we know it goes beyond the pulpit or having a Christian following who look up to you for spiritual direction or mentorship. And even though we may quickly agree that we are all ministers in some way, sadly, it seems like we only have that knowledge on head level and not at a heart level.
Just right before that chapter, we can see and read that Jesus taught in the synagogue. But there is a kind of audience that may never step foot into the synagogue but will be found on the shores of Lake Gennesaret. There are persons that may never step foot into a church nor accept your invitation to attend any service whether online or physically but will interact with you as colleagues, clients, classmates or customers. This is why God needs your boat.
It’s very common for us to assume that acting as ministers in our offices or classrooms may imply that we should initiate class prayers or encourage morning devotions before work resumes. While that is good and can be encouraged, we still know some dynamics in some institutions may not permit that.
It is not for us to determine or be rigid about how our “boats” should be used. Only two things are required as a Kingdom minister outside the four walls of a church/fellowship:
- Make your boat available
- Be willing to obey and push your boat out a little from the land.
What does that mean for us?
Have a ministry disposition about your job or business. See it as a Kingdom platform and completely surrender it to God to use as He pleases. You should have it at the back of your mind daily and you also should pray quite often for God to open your eyes to see how He wants to use your boat so you can align with His will. And whatever He requires you to do, whatever it is, even if it means untying a boat you have tied up at the shore in readiness to leave and having to push it back into the water, please do it. He knows the best way to reach the multitude who are pressing in to hear about God at the shores of your school and business community. Whether they care to admit it or not, many of them have gaping holes in their hearts that only God can fill. So, they desperately need to hear the message of hope. But God knows how best to reach them. He knows the vantage position that your platform will wield the greatest influence. Just go with His flow.
2) God likes ’em empty
“He noticed two empty boats standing at the water’s edge while the fishermen washed their nets”Luke 5:2 (TLB)
If Peter had a good fishing experience the night before, there are three possibilities that:
a) He wouldn’t have spent all night long fishing. He may have caught enough fish early enough and gone home and would have missed meeting Jesus.
b) He may have met Jesus but Jesus wouldn’t have used his boat because it would have been full of fishes and nowhere for the Messiah to sit and preach.
c) He may not have lingered till the end of Jesus’ sermon cos he would have been in a hurry to sort the fishes he caught before they begin to spoil. And He would have missed being recruited as a “fisher of men”.
Now, this is not in anyway suggesting that God likes it when we have “bad market”. But while studying that, I realized that God does not view situations the way we view them. What we perceive as an empty boat, God saw as a pulpit. While we may consider it a bad business day for Peter, God considered it a great ministry opportunity.
Maybe, just maybe your “failures” or struggles in your academics or business or career pursuit may not be completely a failure as you see it. Maybe it’s high time you began to see it through God’s perspective – as an opportunity to be a blessing to others. It’s okay if right now, you can’t seem to connect the dots of how those failures can be used as a platform for ministry. Like we established in the first point, it is not for you to decide or figure out how God can or should use your boat or when. Just release your empty, painful boat to God and watch Him turn it into a great pulpit.
3) God likes ’em empty (2)
There is still another perspective to empty boats I want to talk about. The fact that it seems like we get God’s attention the most (which in reality is more like He finally gets our attention) when our boats are empty. I mean those times that life has hit us so hard and our backs are against the wall. It is shucking and hooking us where it hurts the most. Which for most persons are in the area of academics, marriage/parenting, business, career or ministry. We get humbled and we finally go on our knees. We have tried all we know how to and experience and knowledge have failed us. We are already frustrated and at that time, it only takes God’s intervention or nothing.
I love how The Message Translation paraphrased this line in the Beatitude Teaching. It goes this way:
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you, there is more of God and His rule”Matthew 5:3 (Message)
I hate to admit it but there is blessedness even in our empty boat seasons. For most persons, it draws us closer to God. It makes us lean heavily on the Father because we have no choice. No plan B.
Maybe our empty boats are not completely bad. If we learn how to view them with the right lens, they are actually blessings in disguise. If the boat was not empty, Jesus wouldn’t have come into Peter’s life. They wouldn’t have met that day. I don’t know why it is like that – what about grief or loss or failure that makes us turn to God. If things were going well, God may not have our attention.
Empty boats are not as bad as we think. Our bad days are not as terrible as we perceive them. On the contrary, they are open invitations to the Master to step into our lives and work out a miracle.
4) All you need is a word
There are situations that clearly defy every knowledge, skill or experience one may have. You have tried everything you know how to. You have read all the books. Sought counsel. Paid coaches. Gotten the best trainings and courses. Can boast of advanced certificates from the world best schools. Have the best tutors and spiritual leaders who speak over your life. You have applied every tip and trick you know how to. And you didn’t try once. So, this isn’t a case of perseverance or being impatient. You have tried and tried. And it is still not working. You are still not seeing any fruit in your marriage or career or business.
Hey, what you need is the word. It is not by hustling. It is not by toiling. It is not by muscle or effort or strength. This is not a brain thing. It is not by persistence either. I guarantee you that if Jesus didn’t give the word and Peter went on to cast his nets at that time and in deep water, he will still catch no fish. What changed the situation was not the time of the day or the depth of the water or how many times he tried but the Word!
How do I know?
When Jesus gave the instruction, Peter considered it ridiculous and began with a protest. He was more like telling Jesus, “We have tried everything o”. He used the word “we” to show that he probably started alone and got no results. Then he called other experienced fishermen and they put heads together, still no show. He told Jesus know that they toiled all night to let Him know that if it was for perseverance, they applied that too. The only reason why he obeyed was probably not to be disrespectful and disobedient to the the “man of God” that just finished dishing one hot sermon some minutes prior. I know Peter couldn’t wait to say to Jesus “I told you we have tried everything. Can you now see for yourself?”
I think I understand a bit why Peter considered the instruction ridiculous. I read up about fishing online trying to understand the best depth and time of day to catch a fish. And this is what I found out.
In low or no lights, that is at night, late evening or at dawn, fishes can be found in shallow water. But when the sun is up, they retreat deeper. And they love margins. Margins are the edges between deep water and shallow waters. More like in-between. I believe Peter must have known all these.
When Jesus told him to launch into the deep, he must have thought to himself that this guy still does not understand.
“If we couldn’t catch a single fish all night long up until the wee hours of the morning when it is easier and the fish will be somehow close to the surface, is it in this hot morning/afternoon that they have retreated inside inside that we will find fish?”
Probably, he and his partners may have concluded there are no fishes in that lake again. And may have booked another destination for their next fishing expedition. That same water they have given up on that Jesus is asking him to launch out into the deep and let down his nets for a catch. Clearly, Jesus was trying to defy all sound reasoning, knowledge and experience so that when the miracle will happen, Peter will point to the Word as the source and not the depth of water or time of fishing.
We have stepped into the information decade and knowledge will abound much more than ever. But I want you to have this at the back of your mind, that despite the information overload, problems will still exist and may even increase. One would think with the abundance of business and wealth creation coaches that the economy will get better. One would think that with the abundance of vibrant thought leaders, that policies projected will make the world better. But I am happy to announce to you that this is also the decade when knowledge and skills will fail men the most. For this is the finest hour in the history of time when God will use the foolish things to confound the wise.
Two times in scripture, we see this clearly play out. First in the 41st chapter in the book of Genesis when Pharaoh had a dream and not one of his magicians and wise men could help him interpret it. Not until Joseph, who the Lord had downloaded the revelation and interpretation right there in the prison and gave him wisdom to teach the King of Egypt how they can thrive in the time of famine. Talk about dishing out fail-proof economic policies not copied from any book. Next, we see it again in the book of Daniel. And at this point, Daniel’s life was also at risk, along with the wise men and astrologers of Babylon. But when he pressed into prayers, the mystery was revealed to him. And we can see in both situations, the Word gave them an edge by making them problem solvers and they rose to prominence.
Am I putting down the need for books and trainings and coaching? Of course not! You should know by now, that I am all for all things personal and skill development. But I want to encourage you to put a higher premium in seeking God for answers. More than you seek it in videos and pages of a book or on the stages of a conference. Cos sometimes, the best advice from the best coach may not accurately apply to your situation. Or it may no longer apply in your dispensation. But God’s word is always current. Plus God can teach you how to apply that general knowledge in a specific, personal way.
A word from God can save you from toiling without results. It is a 100% fail-proof, guaranteed way to success in your academics, career or business. Why? Because the Word is life and spirit. It is potent and has in itself the ability to create from nothing and to produce results irrespective of the circumstance. The Word is all you need!!!
Have a bull-eye, laser focus. Get deeper into the secret place. The Holy Spirit can teach you more than they ever can. And you are guaranteed of results if you apply that God-inspired formula. Results that will make you ten times distinguished among your peers and even they will be astonished at your “catch”, just like Peter’s partners in verse 9.
Friends, God is calling us to launch out into the deep this season. Spiritual depth. No more shallow moments. No more shallow studies or prayers. He is more than willing to show you mind-blowing stuff – signature knowledge, mysteries and secrets you have never read from a book or heard anyone teach or share. He is the God of innovation. Of all wisdom. This is a season that will prove more than ever that those that know their God shall be strong and will do exploits. You want to be one of them? Get a Word!