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, 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.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
How Jesus Loved People
I love that story. Jesus was and is so generous. Jesus had the power to give — so He gave.
Jesus loved people by giving, materially.
How to Love Like Jesus
The last verse in our text says, “…they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.” So we see Jesus didn’t give indiscriminately. He just finished speaking to a crowd of people, and almost certainly there were those in the crowd who were in need, but Jesus didn’t give to them. He only gave to those who would respond by leaving everything, and following Him.
Do you think I use Jesus’ approach? Do you suppose when I give of myself, materially, or my time, or my energy, I do it to encourage people to follow Jesus? So often the answer is no! How I have erred on this point. Too frequently I give so people will follow me.
I think many of us give out of a desire to attract people to ourselves. We think to ourselves, “If I help him move, he’ll think I’m a good guy.” Or, “If I pick up the check, he’ll think I’m generous.” Or, “If I make a great dessert, they’ll think I’m a great cook.” It’s human nature to think this way.
But think this through with me: Everything you and I have is God’s anyway, nothing is my own. My money, my time, my energy, my life, it’s all God’s. I’m just managing everything for Him. Doesn’t it make sense then, I should manage in a way that draws people closer to God and to His Son?
This conflict between giving to attract followers to ourselves vs. giving to attract followers to Jesus is relevant to anyone who blogs or tweets or speaks or writes for God’s kingdom. When we look at our number of followers or friends or subscribers or page views, are we looking out of an interest in drawing people closer to Christ? If you are, that’s a good thing. Jesus advocated numbering the 100 so the shepherd knew he was missing the 1. Tracking numbers out of concern for gathering sheep to Christ’s sheepfold is good. But we’re in error when we track numbers out of a desire to see how our followers have grown. Looking at his numbers to gratify himself was what David did when he numbered the men in his army. David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.” (Matthew 18:12 vs. 2 Samuel Chapter 24)
Anytime you give anything, it’s important for you to ask yourself the question, “Am I doing this so people will follow me? Or am I doing it so people will follow Jesus Christ?”
I hear people say they want to be inspired by God’s Holy Spirit when they create their blog post, or their music, or their movie, or their book. I know I certainly want that. If you’re like me, and want the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, it’s important to remember the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Jesus Christ. (John 16:13-14)
So as much as possible when you show love by giving, love as Jesus loved by giving as Jesus gave. Focus on those who you think will respond by drawing closer to Christ.
Speaking of the Holy Spirit Jesus said,
He will not speak on his own… He will glorify me…