In the famous first calling of the disciples, Jesus the carpenter meets fisherman on their turf (Luke 5:1–11). Bypassing conversation about boards, nails and hammers, he offers a simple invitation to fish, once more. It is just the fact that Jesus fulfills their greatest fishing dream that makes his call so compelling. How many times had they dreamed of pulling in the great catch? How many times had they thought about the money they would make, and the notoriety they would have from a catch that would be the talk of the town, or in this case, the whole seaside village?! In this instance, Jesus delivers the dream. The catch was so big that it surpassed the boats capacity to hold it, and everyone’s imagination. Why did he do this?
Sometimes Jesus will give us what we want, so that he can release us from its grip. Artfully, Jesus pries open hands and hearts from one dream to another. Can you picture these disciples looking out at the sea, sizing the day’s record setting glory, and then hear them whisper under their breath, “Been there, done that. What’s next?” And then glancing at each other, “Did you hear when he said, ‘For now on you will be fishing for men’?” True to this day, Jesus beckons us to something bigger. His vision for you will always exceed your wildest imagination! That is because of who he is.
In my ministry journey, I have found that my heart often latches to dreams that, truth be told, have much more to do with me, than him. It takes discernment to cut through the crud of our self-pursuits, and to find the place of true surrender. This was the journey of the disciples who crazily left everything behind that day, in order to follow him. It is our journey, too. We know we are on the right track when we find ourselves leaving something behind to chase after his dream. Some of the hardest moments of my life were when I had to let go. But when we find that direct line of God’s calling, his uniquely stamped path to take our church, group, family or mission down, watch out! How could these lowly fishermen have even remotely fathomed who they would become? Although they could not envision the story that would unfold in front of them walking with Jesus for three years, his shocking death and glorious rise, and then the early church expansion, they did get a glimpse that day. They didn’t know what their future would be, but they gained a peak at “who” would be leading it. I suppose, at the simplest level that was all they needed. Of course, it’s really all we need, as well.
We don’t need to know our future journey, only the Guide. Give us an encounter with the divine call, and we’re good. Lord, grant us humbling moments when we lift our eyes up, like Peter did when he said, “Away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” Give us glimpses when we sense so clearly your holy supernatural nature that we are stricken with awe! Give us Lord, a vision of what you can do which exceeds our wildest imaginations. And Lord, speak your re-aligning words to channel our next steps. Most of all, Lord, may we be true disciples, in living for your dreams, not ours!