By Bishop Jonathan Holston
“Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.’ So, they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.”— Luke 5:10-11
As we continue to seek a more excellent way, I share with you words from a good friend and colleague indicating the best of devotion to God and community:
“A young man stood before a group of leaders and indicated that history will not judge our endeavors merely on the basis of color and creed, or even party affiliation. Neither will competence and loyalty and stature, while essential to the utmost, suffice in times such as these. For of those to whom much is given, much is required ... (and) our success or failure in whatever office we may hold will be measured by the answers to these four questions.
1) First, are we truly people of courage ... with the courage to resist public pressure as well as private greed?
2) Second, are we truly people of perceptive judgment ... with the perceptive judgment of our own mistakes, as well as the mistakes of others, with enough wisdom to know what we do not know and enough candor to admit it?
3) Third, are we truly people who will not abandon the principles that we believe or the people who believe in them?
4) Finally, are we people of dedication with an honor mortgaged to no single individual or group and compromised by no private obligation or aim but devoted only to serving?”
As I reflect again on this passage of Scripture, I look at the usual places:
- Jesus assembling amidst a crowd;
- Jesus seeing fisherman cleaning nets;
- Jesus using a boat to preach a word of God;
- Jesus asking Peter to go fish—hearing the questions and the excuse; and
- The infamous phrase, “Nevertheless at thy word I will let down your nets for a catch.”
But I believe the true understanding came when Peter bowed in the boat, confessing and making a decision.
Following God is simply to “Go For It!” Sometimes we’re afraid to commit to a task God has placed before us because we fear we can’t do it, or we think of all the things that could go wrong. But if we truly trust God, we can take a deep breath, “go for it” and then be amazed at what God has empowered us to do. My breath prayer is simply: “Dear Lord, help us to trust you enough to do what you call us to do and not miss out on the blessings that come from our obedience. Amen.”