What would cause you to walk away from your greatest success?
It would have to be something pretty compelling, wouldn’t it?
Because people don’t normally throw in the towel when they’ve just achieved something unimaginable, when their wildest dreams have just come true.
If your business has finally had a banner year, you’d want to build on that and grow the company even bigger, not turn your back on it.
If you’ve just won several awards for achievements in your field, that’s probably not the time you’d suddenly want to quit.
So why would someone abandon it all right after a sensational triumph?
If they’d discovered something infinitely more valuable and worthwhile.
That’s how it was for three fishermen named Peter, James, and John.
The Bible records this story most fully in Luke 5. Jesus had been teaching a crowd of people the word of God near the Sea of Galilee. He was just offshore in a boat that belonged to a fisherman named Simon Peter.
When Jesus had finished speaking, He told Peter to go out into deep water and put down his nets.
Peter protested that they’d been fishing all night and had caught nothing. He clearly thought this would be a pointless exercise. Nevertheless, at Jesus’ word, he put down his nets.
“When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to tear. So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.” (Luke 5:6-7)
They’d just caught the motherlode of fish, probably a record haul. They were rich!
Peter, along with his partners James and John, might have thought, “With Jesus on board our boats, we’d be unstoppable! We’d haul in bigger catches than anyone else. We could corner the market on fish in the whole Galilee region. We could build a fishing empire, maybe eventually expanding into the Mediterranean! We’d become tycoons, rolling in money. We’d be set for life!”
Oddly, though, this isn’t what Peter, James, and John thought at all.
They’d just experienced the greatest success of their fishing careers. Scripture says they were all astonished at the massive catch.
What did they do next?
Shockingly, they walked away from it.
The Bible indicates that Peter’s reaction to the miraculous haul of fish was not glee or celebration, but rather deep humility and an awareness of his failings. He realized that he was in the presence of the Divine.
“When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees. ‘Go away from me, Lord,’ he said, ‘for I am a sinful man.’
“ ‘Do not be afraid,’ Jesus said to Simon. ‘From now on you will catch men.’ And when they had brought their boats ashore, they left everything and followed Him.” (Luke 5:8-11)
Did you get that? They left everything behind—the record catch of fish, their boats, their jobs—and followed Jesus.
All three of the fishermen realized that what they really needed wasn’t a prosperous life: they needed the words of life that only Jesus could give them.
Suddenly, the fishing business didn’t seem that important to them anymore. They let it fall by the wayside.
They’d found something infinitely more valuable: a relationship with Jesus.
And they walked away winners.
© 2022 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.