In Luke’s Gospel chapter 5, when speaking of three of the apostles it states: “When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything.” I have always been amazed at that statement. Jesus must have moved them deeply. Was it just their miraculous fish catch that caused them to follow Him or was it much more? What will it take to get you to leave it all behind and follow Him?
I am convinced God has performed astonishing things in all of our lives. Often they go unnoticed because we are too focused on things of this world. God wants to amaze us. He wants us to put down our nets and follow Him. In addition to the apostles, He is also calling us to be fishers of men.
“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.” Luke 5:9-11
What astonishing things has God done in your life? I know in my own life I can point to several.
- I was adopted at birth and the only parents I know, my adoptive parents, gave me the gift of my Christian faith. Things could have turned out so differently. My biological mother could have aborted me or my adoptive parents could have been abusive or non-believers. I see God’s hand here in my life.
- While I was still just a sophomore in high school, a young girl showed an interest in me, that girl, has been my wife now for over 40 years and on countless occasions she has demonstrated Christ-like love to me and she has been the wind beneath my wings for 45 of my 60 years of life. God’s hand has been evident in our marriage from the beginning.
- I was blessed to witness the gift of life of our five children. What can be more astonishing than to participate with God in the creation of life?
- In 1987 we moved a thousand miles from our home to Ocala, FL where we developed lifelong friendships rooted in Christ with several other couples from our parish. Soon thereafter, all of us experienced life changing Cursillo weekends. This could have been so different. We could have been far from home with no friends. Instead God blessed us with friends as close as family.
- In 2011 while on an eight day silent retreat, God called me out of my 40 years of silent internal darkness stemming from having been sexually abused as a young altar server. He challenged me to make my brokenness known and to start Broken Door Ministries. Without God’s grace and the help of the Holy Spirit I could have been bitter and walked away from the church but instead my faith was only deepened by the experience. Again, God lead my way!
- In 2014 while hospitalized with sudden blindness, brought on by the onset of my MS, I was granted the rare opportunity to see God in my heart with all worldly visual distractions removed. This was a Transfiguration like moment for me. I was again challenged to follow Him more closely and to seek and help others who are hurting and broken, silent and scared. I was blind but now I see!!
- Two weeks ago, while out of town on a retreat weekend, I was whisked away to the ER by ambulance after experiencing nausea, dizziness and chest pain. I received a sacramental anointing from a priest as I was placed into the ambulance. I thought at that moment that death may be imminent. Like most people would do, I promised God that if He allowed me to live, I would work even harder to be the best disciple of His that I could be. Prayers were answered and it turned out to be non-life threatening. I am still here! I want to shout His praise from the mountain tops.
These are just 7 quick examples of astonishing moments in my life where I saw and felt God’s touch. Have you ever made a list of similar moments in your life? Can I suggest that you take a moment to reflect, and then write some of your own amazing moments down on paper?
I do believe if we acknowledge God’s presence in our life, then we, like those early apostles, can do nothing short of leaving it all behind to follow Him.
What worldly things are you holding onto too tightly? Like the apostles, we are all called to be fishers of men. Come…….let’s go….let’s follow him….until our nets are overflowing and more people experience the astonishing things of our God!
Heavenly Father, please give me the courage ever day to leave it all behind to follow you. I want to be a fisher of men, amen!