“When he [Christ] 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 catch men.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. Luke 5:4-11
The disciples had been fishing all night…they were doing what they were supposed to do. But Jesus called them to somewhere new, out of the safe and familiar shallow water into the deeper water farther from shore. Christ said He would make the disciples fishers of men, and that calling goes for us as well. We can stay in the shallows where it is safe and easy and make every appearance of fishing, but our fishing is a little fishy if we don’t catch any fish. If we want to actually make a catch, we have to go to where God leads us, and that might mean taking a radical step into deeper waters, and unexpected places.
Do we have a SAFE faith, or a fully committed, whatever He asks of us, faith? Do we love Him enough to risk a net breaking catch? Do we really want to grow in our personal spiritual life, or as the family of God? Do we, as God’s children, really want to grow?
Once, at a church I was attending, we were having a discussion, as it seems every church does, about how to get some new people to come. One of the leaders asked, “Do we really want to grow?” We were comfortable. We didn’t have a lot of “needy” families, or immature Christians, or seekers asking hard questions. Did we really want to bring messy lives and difficult issues upon ourselves? That’s a valid question. Remember what happened to the disciples when they were hauling in their big catch? They caught so many fish that their nets began to break, and their boats began to sink! That seems like a few too many fish doesn’t it? Too much of a good thing!
Several years back, I made a list (all true, I might add!) that I titled “You know you have a big family when…”
1. You use a play pen for a laundry hamper, because they don’t make any big enough
2. Your dream car is a 15 passenger van, so that you can go places in the same vehicle
3. You get up at 2:00 am and have to stand in line for the bathroom
4. You pack 70 pairs of socks for a one week vacation
5. You are repeatedly asked if you have any openings in your daycare
6. You accidently leave a child at church at least once a month
7. You accidently bring home someone else’s child at least once a month
8. You have a bedroom for one of your children - in the crawl space
9. You take your kids with you to get groceries, and get kicked out of the warehouse store for bringing too many people into the store with you
10. Complete strangers feel the need to explain to you how babies are made
You don’t have to have eight children to feel overwhelmed. Sometimes it can feel like we can’t possibly handle another thing. But notice how the disciples responded to their unsolicited catch:
· The nets began to break, so
· They called for their partners to come help, but
· The boats began to sink, then
· At that point, Peter fell at Jesus’ knees – totally humbled. This is where we have to come to, the point where we cry out to our Abba Father, and there is no easy way to get there. That’s the point where God can truly use us. That’s the point where they left everything to follow Him.
Since we already had four children, adopting more was the last thing on our minds. But why was that? James 1:27 says that pure religion is taking care of widows and orphans. Why had it never dawned on me that maybe I should be taking care of widows and orphans? When Jesus talks about giving a drink to the thirsty, isn’t that exactly what He means for me to do? When did my faith get so abstract and removed from God’s instructions? According to statistics (www.amfor.net/statistics.html#ADOPTORS) only 2-3% of the children in foster care are adopted each year. 42% of those adoptions were by relatives or stepparents. Almost 70% of the children waiting to be adopted have been in foster care for 2 or more years. 60% of those are 6 years of age or older. (https://www.adoptioninstitute.org/FactOverview/foster.html) Where are the Christians? We should be the most adopting people of all! I think perhaps we are absent, because we don’t truly understand our own identity as God’s adopted children.
Paul explains that identity to us in Ephesians 1:3-6:
“Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For, he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”
We have become God’s full fledged children! We have a place to call home, and it is not here! This world may be good to us, or bad, but the best it will ever be is a temporary foster home.
On one of those early days, that first summer of our adoption, when I was already wondering what we had gotten ourselves into, we were approached in a store by a young man who seemed fascinated with our family. As we visited with him, we found that he had grown up in foster care, and never been adopted. He explained that he had great foster families, and a good experience, but now, in his early twenties he missed having a home to go to for the holidays, or parents to attend his wedding. I see this young man as a gift from God to encourage me, and remind me what this was about.
Parenting, whether by birth or adoption is not about making my life easier, or even more complete. It is about being called to holiness. It is about entertaining strangers, giving drinks to the thirsty, making disciples, and introducing the fatherless to their heavenly Father.
I’m not saying that you have to adopt, or even parent, to follow God’s lead. I am saying that when He calls us away from the safety of the shore, and He will, we need to go!
Do we want to grow? Are we willing to risk a “catch” that may break our nets, and sink our boats? The nets that are most in danger of breaking are our own safety nets that make us feel secure, as well as maybe our net worth – but the net gain is incredible if we are willing to say yes to the adventures that God invites us to – whatever they may be!
Down Victory Road
"But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
1 Corinthians 15:57