WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 07, 2022 - TAKE HIM AT HIS WORD!
WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 07, 2022
Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from Luke chapter 5 where the Bible says,
4 When [Jesus] had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 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.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break…..8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”…10 Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
The older I get, the more I realize that the power of faith in life is taking Jesus at His word and trusting what He says. It’s as simple as that. Things might not work out exactly as you had imagined and you may not always see clearly what’s going on at the moment. But Jesus the Christ is trustworthy and true, and you can take Him at His word. I think that’s what’s going on in our lesson for today. Jesus is in the process of gathering His disciples, His followers. He meets them in the midst of their work-a-day lives and challenges them to take Him at His word. Now for Peter, as well as the other fishermen, this must have been somewhat disconcerting. Think about it. Jesus was the son of a carpenter from inland Nazareth; Peter was a professional fisherman. On the water, Peter was the expert. He knew that you don’t fish out in the middle of the lake. He knew that you don’t fish in the middle of the day. When Jesus told him to go deep and “let down the nets for a catch,” Peter must have thought, “This is crazy! It won’t work.” But then he says what we all need to hear today too. “Because YOU (Jesus) say so, I will let down the nets.”
When it comes to the most important questions in life, the most important voice to listen to is that of Jesus. At the end of the Gospel of John, the author says it clearly: “These things are written so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that while believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31). What Jesus says about who you are, while believing in Him and His word, is really who you are. The matters He says are valuable in life are what’s truly worth it. What He says you need, is, in fact, what you need. What He tells you lasts, lasts. So take Him at His word. Put your faith in Him. Entrust your life to Him. On this day, in spite of Peter’s honest realization of how unworthy he is, he takes Jesus at His word and then follows Him. In time he becomes a great fisher of men, one who brings Christ’s life-giving word to others in order to change their lives as well.
A devotional thought for today then is this: Keep it simple. No matter what is going on in your life, take Jesus at His word and entrust all things to His care.
I can’t say that I’m a big Hollywood fan these days. They don’t produce much that’s uplifting, motivating, or meaningful. It seems like we have bigger screens and smaller movies. But a movie came out over Christmas that is worth the money. It’s called, “American Underdog.” It’s the life story of a guy named Kurt Warner. He's one of my favorite modern football players, although some of you might know him as the football guy on “Dancing with the Stars,” or the CEO of a kid's foundation called, "First Things First." However, you might not know that he was a guy who overcame adversity, a guy who was never given a shot early in his career. He was a guy who was tough (in fact, sometimes to his detriment since he suffered several concussions in his career); and, yes, he did become a Super Bowl MVP, but did you know that he almost didn't make it to the pros at all? The movie tells his unlikely story. But what is even more incredible is it talks about the role of his faith in Christ in that unlikely, seemingly impossible journey.
What gave him strength to keep going amidst adversity, struggle, and days and nights when he didn't know if things were ever going to change? What was the fuel for the fire that kept him competing? What gave him power to keep his commitments to be a good father, husband, and trusted leader when no one really believed in him? That answer is his faith and trust in the God who loved him in Jesus. Listen to how Warner tells it, “If you ever really want to do a story about who I am, God’s got to be at the center of it. Every time I hear a piece or read a story that doesn’t have that, they’re missing the whole lesson of who I am.” That’s faith in God's Word. Whether bagging groceries or throwing Super Bowl winning touchdown passes, God's plan was the power for his life. He learned Peter’s lesson well, “Because YOU say so, I will let down the nets.”
You may be at a very difficult place right now. You may be feeling weak and discouraged. In our lesson today, Simon Peter gets a glimpse of God’s promise being fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus right before his eyes. He encounters Jesus who tells him to do something that his many years of wisdom and experience would doubt. But he does it just because Jesus is who He is. Peter does it, and Jesus not only brings success, but abundance beyond any of Peter’s expectations. It reduces Peter to fear until Jesus tells him that He has plans for Peter to love others as he himself is loved, to become a fisher of men for Jesus’ Name’s sake.
Whatever you are facing today, this lesson reminds us that nothing matters more than Jesus because he cares for you beyond your wildest expectations. Things may not work out as neatly as they did for Peter on that day or for Kurt Warner, but the Lord who would go to the cross for people like Peter, did so for you too. With “cross and resurrection” confidence, you can be assured of Christ’s loving care for you. You can read His Scriptures as a gift from His loving heart to you, and you can take Him at His word!
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, ours is a sinful, fearful world. There are days that we feel exhausted, at the end of our wits and strength. Give us Peter’s wisdom to see our utter need, and give us faith like Peter to take You at Your word in all things. AMEN.
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