“Depart from me for I am a sinful man!”
How many see themselves as such a sinful person that any good that comes your way, you immediately want to draw away from that one doing you good. “I am not worthy!” “I have too many things I’ve done wrong in my life to deserve ANY good!”
Such was the feeling expressed by one fisherman named Peter.
Luke 5:4-8 (NKJV)
When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “ Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
5 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” 6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”
Peter had worked hard all night and caught nothing! We try and try to make new friends, to go to church. We read our bibles, pay our tithes, visit the sick and the homeless, and for what? We still feel as if nothing has been accomplished. Our lives are just as empty as before. We feel we are cups with no bottom, pots with holes, broken and leaking vessels that cannot contain anything worthwhile.
So was this fisherman’s existence. No matter how hard he worked, nothing came from his efforts. In this case, Peter had worked all night. When Jesus asked him to put out to the deep and let his nets down for a catch, his initial reaction…NO! But then, for a reason he himself did not understand, he did as was suggested to him. As he did this, what he could not do in the night, he was able to do in the day. What was the difference? One at night and one in the day. Was that the only difference? No! The real difference was when he worked by his own strength, according to his own direction, to do those things that seemed right to him, this brought unfruitfulness. It was at Jesus’ word, in accordance to obedience to that word, that brought a fruitfulness he never had before.
Immediately, this man of constant failure realized there was One greater than him with him and he saw his sinfulness and became ashamed.
Brethren, throughout our lives, we have been taught and trained, to rely upon no one, to trust no one but to do it ourselves. If we wanted to accomplish anything, then it is up to us. Woe to the man or woman who does not make the “proper” attempt to do what is right in their own eyes. Society frowns upon the unmotivated, the failures, the outcasts, the rejected or those who have the appearance of such.
We accepted this, our lot in life and plod on in trying to do what we think is right, trying to please man or God according to what we perceive as their requirement. THIS is like Peter, working in the DARK and getting nothing for his efforts.
And yet, the solution steps into his boat and asks him to try again. Wearied by his many unsuccessful, laborious and frustratingly unfruitful attempts, he nearly rejects this Man too but at the last moment, decides, what can one more try hurt. He has done this dozens of times so if by one more try nothing happens, it will prove that God does not favor him, which he had already concluded.
Yet this time, his efforts were not rewarded with another failure but a bountifulness he never experienced overwhelmed him. With this, the light finally dawned in his mind and his heart, “I am a sinful man!”
What happened to this man that caused him to see the sinfulness of his own heart? No one told him he was sinful. The only thing that happened was that Jesus stepped into his boat, told him to try again and on Jesus’ word alone, he found a truth about himself that he never considered before. All his efforts, all his works came from him and not from Jesus. For the first time in his life of fruitless labor, Peter saw that the reason he could not find the satisfaction of success was because “he” had been trying in his own strength and not according to God’s direction.
The lesson for us all in this story is to show us that although we may try and try and try to do what is right, as long as what we do is according to OUR direction in OUR strength, we will be as Peter, tired, discouraged, hopeless. Yet when Jesus tells us, gives us His instructions, what we were not able to do before, suddenly becomes fruitful. The LONE difference lies in that fact that until we receive the Word of The Lord from The Lord HImself, we will not find success. LIFE comes only from God and to those who seek His face and will not move until they hear from Him.
God promises in His word that not a single word of His will return to Him without accomplishing what He intended. When God speaks, it happens. When we speak, it does not happen. Yes, it IS as simple as that!
Isaiah 55:11 (ESV)
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
The result of this?
Isaiah 55:12 (ESV)
“For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.