While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him. (Luke 5: 1-11)
Over four decades in ministry, one of the most common conversations I have is discussing a person’s faith. Often, a person will say that their faith is strong but its personal. Entwined in that is a statement that goes like this: “My faith is very strong but its private, I don’t feel comfortable talking about it to others.”
Today’s scripture reminds us that our faith is indeed personal but it is given to us with a purpose.
When Peter is called in today’s gospel, he immediately sees that he lacks what is necessary. He tells Jesus, “Depart from me, Lord, I am a sinful man.” Find someone else. Jesus does not find someone else. Instead, he says to Peter, “Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching people.” Jesus equips Peter for what his calling will be. Both the call and the ability to accomplish the call are given together.
Each of us is called in the same way that Peter was called. We were given faith not just for our benefit but for the benefit of others. There is no such thing as private faith—faith just for me. To the extent that we believe, we believe not only for ourselves but to share what we believe with others. We, like Peter, are called to catch people.
If we believe, we are called to share that belief.
How we share it can vary. Sharing our faith does not mean imposing our faith on others. It does not require that we stand on a soapbox or that we stop people and ask them whether they have accepted Jesus as their personal savior. That is one way to do it.
But you can share your faith by using less words and more example. You can share your faith by waiting for the right circumstances.
God chooses ordinary people, like you and me, as his ambassadors and he uses the ordinary circumstances of our daily lives and work situations to draw others into his kingdom. Jesus speaks the same message to us today: we will “catch people” for the kingdom of God if we allow the light of Jesus Christ to shine through us. God wants others to see the light of Christ in us in the way we live, speak, and witness the joy of the Gospel. Paul the Apostle says, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ Jesus always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15).
That call and the ability to accomplish the call are given together. If you have been called to be a parent or a grandparent, you can be sure that God has equipped you to share your faith with your children.
When we find ourselves dealing with a friend or someone at work who is in need or struggling grief or loss, when we find ourselves called to reconcile with someone who has hurt us, that call is an invitation to share what we believe. We can say to the person in need, “I believe that God is with you as you deal with this loss or this problem. I will pray for you, because I know God loves you.” We can say to the person with whom we seek reconciliation, “I come and ask for forgiveness not only because I believe it is right, but because I follow the teaching of Jesus.”
We who have been called to believe are called to share that belief. So the next time you find yourself with someone and you realize that that person’s life could have more meaning and comfort if they knew of a God who loved them and cared for them. Don’t stand there and wait for God to send someone to proclaim that love. Don’t stand there and wait for someone to share that good news. God has already sent someone. That someone is you.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, fill my heart with love and compassion for those who do not know you or follow you. May I be a good witness of your truth and salvation to my family, friends, and co-workers.”
Our scripture tells us an important truth about how God works in and through each of us for his glory. God expects of us greater things than we can do by ourselves. When we cooperate in his works, we accomplish far beyond what we can do on our own.
When God’s word is spoken his kingdom is revealed and his power is released. When people respond to God’s word with faith and obedience they are changed and made “a new creation” in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).