Sunday, 30 May 2010 00:00

In Business: Christ Turns My Desires from Finding Prosperity to Saving People

Luke 5:1-11 (NASB)

Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret; and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." Simon answered and said, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets." When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus' feet, saying, "Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!" For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men." When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.

Fishing was an occupation in Christ's day that called for a capital investment (boats, nets, etc.) and provided an income based upon one's performance. It could be lucrative, but in times of drought and disease, it could mean poverty. Not ulike today, when people find themselves either financially prospering or hurting. The difference Christ makes in business for the believer is that when good times come financially, they come to enable us to reach others for Jesus Christ.

  1. Following Christ means you come to recognize God is Master over all your income.
    The professional fishermen have caught nothing throughout their long night of work. But as they obeyed the voice of their Master, they found Christ doing far more than they imagined. One must be very careful here. The Bible now where promises great wealth to Christ-followers. But there are certain principels that, when obeyed, guarantee Christians will have every need met.
    1. That which they needed—nets full of fish—they received by obeying Christ.
      When we listen and obey Him, we will discover His ways are always best, all the time.
    2. Those who know Christ may be given great wealth, but it does not define them.
      "When they brought the boat to the land, they left everything and followed Him" (v.11). God can call a man of wealth as much as he can call a man of poverty. The issue is never about the Lord bringing His people prosperity—it's about His people knowing He's Lord of all wealth. "You shall remember the Lord for it is He who gives you power to create wealth" (Deuteronomy 8:18).
    3. The primary emphasis of Christ's followers is on who Christ is, not what Christ gives.
      The crowds want Jesus to stay around, thinking maybe they will be able to get a free miracle or two. But Peter, the professional fisherman, wants Jesus to "depart from him." Why? Because Peter has seen Jesus Christ up close and personal and realizes there is something more to Christ than Him fulfilling material needs. This is true Christianity. A vision of Christ's power will frighten; a burden that only His love will lighten.
  2. Following Christ turns you from individuality to a member of community.
    Peter calls friends to help him bring in the catch of fish (v.7), and they are called "partners" (Greek metochois—"business partners"). But two of these partners become followers of Jesus and they are now Simon's "partners" (v.10); a different word in Greek is koinonoi. It means "commonness" or "community." It's really the beginning of "friends and family." For this reason, when you become a follower of Jesus Christ, He gives you a desire to be a part of what the body in general is doing; in missions and in ministry. That's a good thing.
  3. Following Christ means that your new community is concerned with catching people.
    "Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men" (v.10). The disciples turn from the work of catching fish that dieto catchingpeople who live. The last participle of the passage (v.10 zogron) is rare in the New Testament and Greek literature in general but is a term that means "to capture alive" or "to spare life." The Greek prefix or root zoe means "life." This means that one of the differences Jesus makes in His followers is He meets you where you are in this world, gives you everything you need, and burdens your heart to snag others. "May God grant them repentance... that they come to their sense and escape form the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will" (II Timothy 2:25-26).

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