When you get your big break…

What is the first thing you choose to do when God bountifully blesses you in your business or job?  Suppose you got a big promotion –  or landed the deal of the century.  What would you do?

Here is what 3 business partners did, in Luke 5:4-11:

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.  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.”  When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.  So they signaled 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. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”  For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid;  from now on you will catch men.”  So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Really Peter?  The most profitable day of your life, and you just walk away? Immediately?

Clearly, when Jesus healed his mother-in-law, Peter took notice, otherwise Peter would never have gone out after a long fruitless night, when all he really wanted was to get to bed, and let his just-cleaned nets down to be gunked up again.  Perhaps he felt he owed Jesus one,  or at least some respect as a rabbi. I bet he was thinking “Man, I wish he had gotten int James and John’s boat instead”.  I wonder if, when he said “because you say so, I will let down the nets.” his tone of voice said “are you crazy?” or “I’ll humor you” or was really whiny.  And how much muttering under his breath, or in his mind went on before he got out to the deep water?

And then there are the two partners on shore sitting there winking, grinning, and poking each others ribs as they anticipate the jibes they will be able to throw at Pete once the teacher has left, and is out of earshot.

What could cause three normally level-headed businessmen to give up a going concern for a life where you never knew when or where you would get your next meal?  What could cause you to take that kind of risk?  Would you really be willing to drop everything in an instant for His call?

Or would you rationalize that God means for you to just use the bounty he has given you, without making a big change?

Listen to this parody (lyrics here) and see if this is you.

No Change in Character

Malachi 3:6  “I the Lord do not change.  So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed”

Have you ever thought how bad it would be for you and I if God did change? If  you work for someone where one day your actions please him, and the next day the same actions don’t, not only would it be frustrating, but also eventually you would be out of a job.  Does that affect your feeling of security?  Now imagine that instead of just being your boss, this person capriciously determines whether and what you eat.  Feeling insecure yet?  Now consider if that person had the power to grant you life or death.  Wouldn’t you feel better in the hands of someone who doesn’t change their mind over time?  As the ultimate person of power over the universe, if God was not unchanging we would be in a precarious position, always uncertain, waiting for the axe to fall as it would inevitably  – only we would have the agony of not knowing when.  But as He tells us in the Bible, He does not change.  And we know that He does not lie: when you are the ultimate power, what would you gain by lying?  Instead you just state the reality and expect everyone else to deal with it.

In Malachi there are plenty of warnings of discipline to a people who were behaving badly.  These people were inconsistent, they did vacillate and change;  and you’d think God would justifiably take their evil as reason to destroy them.  But God does not change.  His behavior is not dependent on ours.  In this verse he tells the people that they will not be destroyed, as they clearly deserved.  An the reason given is simple – “I the Lord do not change.”  In other words He does not go back on His promises, on what He has already decided.

This should give you and I great confidence in our situation.  We can trust God’s promises.   When he says that all we need to do is believe that His son Jesus died and rose from death for us, we can take supreme comfort in knowing that we who believe will likewise rise from the dead to life eternal.

Despite our continuing and sometimes awful failings.   Be glad that God does not change.

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