Obedience isn’t easy… but watch what can happen when we offer it!
I believe most would agree that many of our daily minor decisions don’t have a significant impact on our future… I mean, the fact that I bought organic kale yesterday for $1.99/lb is hardly going to secure my place in the Kingdom! The reality is that I purchased the organic variety of kale because I felt it was the right thing to do based on my commitment to eat ‘clean’, chemical-free food. I wouldn’t consider this a life-changing decision, but it was just one of hundreds of decision I made yesterday that really wasn’t all that impactful on my future. But what about the decisions that change the course of our lives… how many of us have had to face those? How many of us are prepared for such decisions? What do we pull from to make such decisions? Experience?? How can we… we aren’t called to face such decisions very often, so what are we to do?
From first-hand experience, leading as God called me to has me feeling very alone at times as doing life God’s way is definitely *not* popular! I often times want to run BACK to the place I used to be as this ‘road’ of following Jesus is *tough*! I believe that my obedience will pay off one day… until then, Jesus, please don’t leave me!
In a recent experience with a wonderful friend in men’s group, he collapsed in my arms after hearing the devastating news that his wife wanted a divorce.. all I could do was hold him… he was lost and broken… his whole life had changed forever in a single moment in time.
On a more positive note, Luke 5 speaks about such decisions that change lives, but only if they are connected to obedience. It’s hard to imagine what would have happened if Peter chose not to obey Jesus at the Sea of Galilee. The passage starts with Jesus preaching by the shore. The crowd began to grow as word of Jesus’ ministry began to spread of His healing of the sick. It became clear to Jesus that the area for the crowd to gather became limited… restrictive. In Peter’s first step towards obedience, he agreed to take Jesus a short distance by boat into the water so that crowd could hear Jesus better. Even though the request was odd to take Jesus out into the lake, Peter obeyed. I believe that Jesus used this act of obedience to test Peter’s faith, as He tests our faith. I believe, like with Peter, obedience is a process and not a gift like salvation. God offers this Grace He gives us when we accept Him as our Savior… this amazing gift is not something we can earn or work for to achieve. Obedience, however, is very different… while God doesn’t want us to have to work to achieve obedience, His desire is that it is our first priority… to obey Him immediately because of who He is… not partial obedience but complete obedience.
Later in the passage, Jesus asks Simon to ‘put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’ This request went against all that the fisherman of the time knew about fishing in the waters of the Sea of Galilee… using nets to fish during mid-day? In their experience, they caught the bulk of their fish during the night, into the early morning hours. This time, Jesus tested their obedience on something they knew about to see what they would do…. a much harder test, in my opinion… after all, Jesus wasn’t a fisherman. But, Simon obeyed and let down the nets. What was Peter’s reward for obedience? Nets that were filled to the point of breaking… so many fish that Peter had to summon additional help to assist with the process of hauling the incredible catch to shore.
Is it possible that with each act of obedience, God is lining up greater riches for us to experience? That He is testing our obedience with each task He asks of us? Not only was Peter at the center of the miracle experienced that day, but others enjoyed the miracle. So it is possible that through our act of obedience, many around us will experience abundant blessings. Questioning and doubting don’t build faith God wants us to have in life. We must focus on the task of motivating our heart to obey God, without question. The Christian life requires obedience… it is something that is learned as our nature is to be disobedient to God and to authority. I believe that if we don’t learn the delicate connection between faith and obedience, our life will be marred with defeat, failure, deep pain, and suffering. The outcome of Peter’s faith was not only tangible blessings from the deep waters, but a new role in life… that of fisher of men over fisher of the sea. What an amazing blessing… basking in the light of His care from one simple act… obedience!
gstefanelli (Greg Stefanelli)