The Response

“Hello!” Normally people respond with a “hello” back… It sure seems like it’s been forever since I put anything up on this ol’ thing. But something struck me as interesting this past week and I have to share it with you.

Are you a parent? A boss? Or want to be a boss? I actually do know some things about parenting…I want my kids to respond when I call them. We’re getting to a point now where if I call their name they better come running and find out what daddy wants. Sometimes in a relationship with others we hold a conversation about things that are going on in life, explaining situations and our response to those situations hoping for our friend’s approval of our choice. Lots of times they reply with what their response would have been if they went through the same thing you did…as if what they would do would have been the “better” choice, and it always ends up being exaggerated. When you think about it, just about everything we do stimulates a response from someone else, doesn’t it? If we’re walking straight toward someone either they’re going to move out of the way or you will, or both of you will consent to the other’s presence respectfully and slightly turn. When we hear a joke that’s funny we laugh. When we’re told bad news we cry or show sympathy. When we’re told good news we rejoice. Do you get where I’m coming from?

I’m reading in Luke 5 and in the first 11 verses there is quite the intriguing story about Jesus and Peter’s first encounter with each other. The Rabbi just started His ministry and was preaching to, evidentally, a very large crowd by a lake. So, Jesus got into a boat that belonged to Simon, later to be called Peter (for short?). I don’t know how long Jesus talked but I bet what He was saying was delivered from a different perspective than from what a majority of the listeners were taught growing up. Simon heard it all. He listened. He had to. Some teacher that he’d never met before took his boat into the water and was speaking from it.

After the “lesson” Jesus, the newly respected Teacher, the man with great wisdom so it seemed, told a weary fisherman to go out and fish. It seemed like this “wise guy” doesn’t really know what He’s talking about. Any fisherman knows that midday isn’t the best time to out. Peter’s response was basically, “I don’t want to, but if you say so…” He did it. He caught a huge amount of fish! So many he needed help! So many that both the boats they filled were sinking!!

Stop for a minute… Here’s this guy that was teaching and suddenly earned a following that hung on every word He said. Teacher’s had that kind of respect in the Jewish culture and if the teacher valued you at all he’d teach you what he knew. Jesus valued all of them. He was teaching them. It feels good to be respected doesn’t it? I mean, when people respect you a little you end up responding with some respect for them. Jesus told Simon to do something and I think, from what I can tell from the tone of his response to Him, Jesus earned Simon’s respect. He followed through. His response to Jesus’ command ended up with a blessing, a big blessing. It’s almost as if Jesus showed Simon a little about who He is in His teaching and asked him to try out Jesus’ words. “Just try it. See what happens when you follow My commands.” Simon responded accordingly, reluctantly.

You know, sometimes God’s commands aren’t all that exciting or even attractive, but He does ask us just to taste it, just to see if God will really live up to His Word. Simon found out that there’s a blessing that results. Do you think that if we just take some time and try out God and His Word that there will be a similar result? Let me encourage you to try God out. Just try doing something that He commands in His Word and see what happens. Let me help… in John 8 Jesus talks about how God doesn’t like lying. He covers deceit in a lot of chapters in the Bible. It seems to be something that He doesn’t like and is against His nature to do or even to have any part of. God asks that we don’t lie. Try it. Don’t lie or be deceitful for a day or longer and see what happens.

Well, back to the story. Simon saw the power of God in a very physical way. His response once again was realizing who he is compared to Jesus – unworthy. Simon’s response was total humility. He realized that he was in the very presence of Someone great, Someone capable of so much, Someone holy, Someone worthy of a capital “S” at the beginning of the pronoun “Someone”. Notice Jesus’ response to Simon’s obedience, to Simon’s agreeing to try out Jesus’ words: don’t be afraid. Well, hang on a second. Jesus is telling him not to be afraid of Someone capable of miracles? Someone with so much power to create a large catch of fish like that? When we are confronted with the very power of God and see it for ourselves our response needs to be similar to Simon’s; falling on our knees in front of a Holy God. In Hebrews it says that we have the opportunity now because of Jesus to enter into God’s throne room (in prayer) with confidence. The Creator of the world deserves our humility and fear of Who He is and yet He tells us not to be afraid. Isn’t that interesting?

And it’s only when the heart is humble before Him that God can commission us to do great things for Him with purpose and calling. Jesus didn’t just say “don’t be afraid” but commissioned Simon to do something great. Isn’t it neat that God would take time out for us, consider us valuable enough to share what His idea of life is all about through the Bible, to ask us or give us an option to try Him out (which that seems odd. Isn’t He God? Shouldn’t He be commanding us to try Him out?), and then when we are brought to humility, a state of recognizing who God is in a very real way, for Him to commission us to be a part of His great plan for the universe!

Even the commission needs a response. Notice that they left everything and followed Him! God gives us opportunity to respond to the commission…we can do what we want with the new option He has given us. God calls for committment now.

God’s Word calls for a response from each of us. How are you going to respond? Are you going to try Him out? You know that He exists. If you say you don’t, or say you don’t believe in Him, you end up using His Name every day. If we aren’t praying to Him we’re using God in a state of astonishment or cursing. Who hasn’t said “Oh my God”? He exists doesn’t He? How will you respond? Just try Him out and see what He is capable of in your life. And when He shows Himself to you how are you going to respond? When He commissions you, will commit to Him? He’s already committed to you.

What are your thoughts?