Luke 5:1 – 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, 10 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.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. (NIV)

In today’s reading, Jesus is calling his first disciples.  I love to read about Jesus’ disciples.  What amazes me about them is that Jesus did not choose people with special ‘church’ skills.  As far as we know, none of those chosen by Jesus had any experience leading prayers or Scripture studies.  They were not leaders in their local synagogues.  They were simply ordinary, hard working, people.  In my career as a pastor, one of my biggest challenges is to get ordinary people to step up and actively involve themselves in the ministry of Jesus Christ.

I, myself, was simply a Park Ranger, with no special ‘church’ experience when I began to hear Jesus calling my name.  I, too, protested for some time as many people do when Jesus calls.  Years ago, when I was fearful to follow Jesus’ call, I found comfort in reading about Simon Peter.  Jesus called Peter to follow him, and when Peter realized who it was who was calling him, he stated: “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”  We fear following Jesus because we know we fall short of Jesus’ glory.  We ask ourselves, what could I ever do to help God?  Jesus, however, told Simon Peter not to be afraid.  

Maybe you are hearing something from God.  Maybe God is speaking to you through a still small voice, or through the voice of another, and maybe you are fearful of answering that voice.  God calls to each of us.  God calls us to move forward in our life as a Christian, to take steps forward to be Jesus’ disciple, and to be a ‘fisher of people’.  Take comfort in the fact that God simply wants people.  Worldly status is of no consequence.  Your past level of success – or failure – has no bearing on Jesus’ call.  Like Peter, we are all sinful.  Like Peter, Jesus calls us anyway.  Like Peter, God can use us in great ways!  Don’t be afraid to follow! 

Posted by Ramón Torres