Have you ever experienced disappointment?
Disappointment…discouragement. On the edge of despair?
You may have been disappointed by a trusted friend—maybe it was a family member—it could be work-related…or maybe you’ve been disappointed in yourself.
The air in our world now is thick with disappointment.
- People are disappointed because some police have violated their oath to protect and to serve.
- Police are disappointed in their politically appointed leaders, because instead of supporting them during this difficult time, some leaders have thrown their own agencies under the bus.
- Protesters, who wanted to bring attention to an injustice are disappointed their message isn’t being heard because their protests were highjacked by people whose goal is to destroy property and lives.
- People whose homes and businesses are being destroyed are disappointed that their property is destroyed from the violence.
Martin Luther King said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” When we see injustice, we have an obligation to call it out…and rioting and looting are a part of injustice.
So, disappointment is thick in the air.
Jesus’ own disciples experienced disappointment, but Jesus used it as a teachable moment to help them refocus on what is most important.
Luke describes how Jesus called his first disciples to follow him.
A crowd was gathering that day, to hear Jesus, on the shore of the sea of Galilee and Jesus, trying to avoid the crowd, stepped into one of the boats along the shoreline.
Sitting down, Jesus asked Peter who owned the boat, to push off from the shore, just a bit so he could speak to the people.
Then, after he finished teaching, he said to Simon:
“Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”
Peter tries to explain to Jesus that they had been out all night—the best time to fish—and they caught nothing.
Neither he nor his brother Andrew, nor his co-workers, had caught a thing all night! There are few things more frustrating then pointless work; fruitless labor; spinning your wheels. Lots of work, no payoff.
Disappointment. Especially when you have expenses.
But, because of Jesus’ request, Simon reluctantly puts his nets back in the water. Here is how Luke describes what happens next:
6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
8 When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” 9 For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. 10 His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.
Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
Peter was disappointed and disheartened. Disappointment can bring discouragement, and we wave-off the help or suggestions of others. We even come up with multiple reasons why the suggestions won’t help.
Peter could have done this. He was tired, he was disappointed, he was discouraged.
But, here is the key: Peter did what Jesus asked him to do. And when he did, he experienced what only God can do: the miraculous. The blessing is in the doing.
But this is interesting—when the miraculous happens—when he experienced God’s power in his life, he also experienced fear. He said, in essence: “Oh, Lord, please leave me—you don’t know how bad I am.”
But Jesus reassures him: “Don’t be afraid. From now on you’ll be fishing for people.”
You know what Peter discovered in all this? Jesus never disappoints. When Jesus calls you to follow him, It’s not about our past; it’s not about our abilities. Jesus simply wants our availability. And when we follow his lead, he shows us that he never disappoints. He is dependable. He is trust-worthy.
But I think these final words are the most challenging for us: “They left everything and followed Jesus.” They left the catch for someone else to process. They left boats, nets and everything that had been a source of security for them. And here is what they discovered: Jesus never disappoints.
Let me ask you this final question: What is there in your life that is keeping you from following Jesus, unreservedly?
Usually this is the first place to start. Think about this: • When God speaks to you, what is that area that comes to your mind and makes you think “Lord, you don’t know my life—you can’t use me, I am a bad person.”?
Whatever the area is, that is a good place to start. Set it aside. Set it aside and follow Christ. And when you do, here’s what you’ll discover: Jesus never disappoints.