I know the times were different, But I’ve always had a hard time with the idea of Peter leaving his family for an undetermined amount of time to follow Jesus. Because of my personality, I’ve been asked, oh, I don’t know, a dozen times to be involved in multi-level marketing projects. When Anna and I were very young in our marriage, it was not uncommon for me to come home and present delusions of grandeur about our future if we were just willing to use one room of our apartment to stock toilet paper and hand soap. Thankfully, Anna is a sensible woman and could see that our friends and family probably wouldn’t line up to buy their household products from us instead of Walmart.
Of all the characters in the Bible, I have found myself resigned to knowing I am the most like Peter. Excitable, emotional, exuberant, and unfortunately, often afraid. And yet, God chose to build his kingdom upon that goofball.
I’m reading through the book of Luke with my niece. I thought it would be an easy read, but I found more reflection than I expected. I’m often bewildered how Peter had the credibility to convince so many men to leave their careers as he recruited and how he was able to convince his wife that Jesus was legit. After all, it doesn’t look like she saw any of the miracles in the beginning. Looking deeper has caused me to slow down and look for ways to connect with them both. Then, my niece and I got to the part with all the fish. You know the one. It’s every fisherman’s dream to simply cast the net over and rake in a boatful of fish. As I read, I wondered how many fish did Peter really pull in? What economic impact did this event have on him and his family?
Luke 5:1-7 “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.”
Was Peter always this helpful, or just a people pleaser? Either way, God used all of it.
I’m guessing that Peter didn’t have much savings based on his career and personality. His boat was his livelihood. His boat was how he was known. It was one of the most valuable commodities in his life. But look at what happened when he allowed Jesus to use the most precious thing he owned.
“In Luke 5:1-11, the Bible describes a miraculous event. Peter and his fishing partners caught so many fish that both of their boats started to sink. We wanted to know the economic impact to Peter and his partners from this catch of fish. Using the dimensions of a boat from approximately the same time and location, we estimate that a total of 62,696 pounds of fish filled the two boats. A wage and commodity price law from 301 AD indicates this gave each of the four fishing partners 24.5-36.4 years’ salary at General Laborer rates, or 12.1-18.2 years at the skilled labor rates, depending on the fish’s quality. With modern financial advice saying one needs 25 years’ expenses in savings to live entirely from the interest, this put Peter and his partners in good stead to leave the fishing business and work for God full time.” (An Estimate of the Value of Two Boatloads of Fish, As Recorded in Luke 5:1-11, written by William P. Houser and Rochelle A. Houser)
I couldn’t find any additional sources for the value of these fish. Nonetheless, if you do the math, this event set Peter and his family up financially in such a way that Peter could afford to leave his job and follow Jesus for the 3+ years he needed to become the “fisher of men.”
I’m an entrepreneur. So If I were Peter, I would be trying to get a second fishing trip on the calendar with Jesus. But instead, Peter was so overwhelmed by the magnitude of this gift he fell at Jesus’ feet and said, “Go away. Leave me, Lord! I’m a sinner!” But Jesus saw past Peter’s sin. He saw something in Simon Peter that was rock solid. Something to build upon – a foundation. Just like you.
If you have empty nets or ones that seem to keep catching problems instead of favor, God sees you. He has a way of using your circumstance so the world can see His Son. The question becomes: Will you listen to His next simple instruction? Will you allow Him to use what is of most value to you for His glory? “The “Yes, Lord” moment changed Simon to Peter and helped change the world. Your “Yes, Lord” will change you and the world around you. How much, you ask? A boat full.
We are in this together!
In His service and at yours,