Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Your Life: Feast or Famine?

The Spiritual Tradition of Fasting
and its Implementation into the 21
st Century Western Church
Brian McGee
SP500: Spiritual Traditions and Practices
Dr. John Bangs
September 14, 2012

Is your life a feast or a famine? The spiritual tradition of fasting is an ancient practice that is incorporated into nearly every religion. Fasting physically from food has traditionally been used as a method of feeding the spirit. The denial of self indulgence is believed to be essential for an awakening of spiritual vitality. Historically, within the context of the Judeo-Christian narrative, the tradition of fasting was practiced regularly for the sake of deepening one’s connection to the Holy Spirit, mourning a loss, and to prepare for trials. Moses fasted atop Mount Sinai for forty days as he communed with God. Nehemiah mourned the destruction of Jerusalem for days. Jesus fasted for forty days in the desert before starting his public ministry. The tradition of fasting can be associated with the season of Lent in many Christian denominations. Outside of the realm of religious practice, fasting is also used in medical treatments as a form of restoring regular function of the body’s systems. An athlete might fast in order to prepare their body for training.

Diogenes Allen writes in his book Spiritual Theology that there is a journey with three stages. The “active life”, the first stage, deals with the realms of practical advice that should invoke behavioral change or praktike (practice) that will help in overcoming evil actions. Theoretike, the “contemplative life” consists of the second and third stage of the journey: physike, the contemplation of nature and theoria, the interaction with God through other creatures. The purpose for spiritual theology is to guide us in the journey of loving God and loving our neighbor.1 It can be asked again, is your life a feast or a famine?

Just as the Bible has several examples of fasting, it also has several food centered metaphors that deal with spiritual growth. The Gospel of John, chapter 15, verse 5 in the NIV, says “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Verse 16-17 ends, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.” Galatians chapter 5 verses 22-23 goes into more detail on what the fruit of the Holy Spirit is, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

The practice of fasting is a conduit through which the Holy Spirit tempers desires for wickedness. It is through the denial of the flesh that spiritual fruit is able to grow from mere applied behavior and blossom as instinctual habit. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is the very nature of Jesus, his characteristics that indwell in a person and are made full through their sharing with others the gift that God has given them in new life. Marjorie Thompson writes in her book Soul Feast, “fasting from physical food can scarcely be experienced as spiritual until it is joined to the sense of feasting on God’s gracious love and responding by loving others. Feasting prepares us for authentic service.”2

John chapter 15 invokes a vivid contemplation of a fruit tree, for descriptive sake an apple tree. Jesus Christ is the life giving branch, people are the vines, and Jesus bears the fruit in them. Now what happens to this fruit once it is ripe? Does it simply stay attached to the tree as an ornament, a mark of accomplishment? No, such results would be unnatural to God’s design for fruit. Why would God chose to flaw an analogy where the fruit serves as the primary vessel for sustenance of another creature? When an apple reaches ripeness in the wilderness, it will fall from the tree and be devoured by the ecosystem of life surrounding the tree, henceforth dying to self, and providing the essential bed of soil for the reproductive seed within to grow in optimal circumstances. This contemplation of the natural world evokes a very strong reaction for the Christian. When the Holy Spirit cultivates its fruit in a person’s life, it is not for the enjoyment of the person per say, as they will undoubtably still receive enjoyment from being like Christ, but its primary purpose is for the reproduction of faith in others.

Allen invokes a strong connection between our spiritual journey and the fulfillment of the greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 37-40, NIV) Like the fruit that falls from the tree after it has abided in Christ and has been formed in his very likeness, a person is called to die to themselves, surrendering their will, so that the love of God would be reproduced in the communion with others. The Christian must take inventory of their life and understand that when they invite others to commune and share with them in their faith, that they must first be bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit so that what they are inviting outsiders to is not a famine, but a glorious feast! Jesus said that his body was the bread of life and that his blood was the cup of the covenant, a person can only be sustained by him alone. One’s spiritual health depends on their appetite for the nature of Jesus. Do they desire to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit, or to pursue their own wickedness? This is why fasting has proved to be an essential tradition in the Christian faith.

Macrina Wiederkehr, a sister of the blah blah blah order explains the positive value of fasting in her book Seeing the Holy in the Ordinary:
Fasting is cleansing. It cleans out our bodies. It lays bare our souls. It leads us into the arms of that One for whom we hunger. In the Divine Arms we become less demanding and more like the One who holds us. Then we experience new hungers. We hunger and thirst for justice, for goodness and holiness. We hunger for what is right. We hunger to be saints.
Most of us are not nearly hungry enough for the things that really matter. That’s why it is so good for us to feel a gnawing in our guts. Then we remember why we are fasting. We remember all the peoples of the world who have no choice but to go to bed hungry. We remember what poor stewards of the earth we have been. We remember that each of us is called to be bread for the world. Our lives are meant to nourish. Fasting can lead us to the core of our being and make us more nourishing for others.3

The Christian must be very careful warns Richard Foster in his book Celebration of Discipline, “To use good things to our own ends is always the sign of false religion. How easy it is to take something like fasting and try to use it to get God to do what we want. At times there are such stress upon the blessings and benefits of fasting that we would be tempted to believe that with a little fast we could have the world, including God, eating out of our hands. Fasting must forever center on God. It must be God-initiated and God-ordained.”4 

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware adds to the conversation, “We do not fast because there is anything in itself unclean about the act of eating and drinking. Food and drink are, on the contrary, God’s gift, from which we are to partake with enjoyment and gratitude. We fast, not because we despise the divine gift–so as to purify our eating and drinking, and to make them, no longer a concession to greed, but a sacrament and means of communication with the Giver.5

Jewish author Abraham Joshua Heschel stresses that the Sabbath is a day of rest and relief. The Sabbath is a day of praise and not petition, and that fasting on such a day is forbidden6. For the Christian, this invokes a wonderful time of contemplation, one in which the imagery of a banquet in heaven is being served. A true feast is awaiting the believer as described in Isaiah 25: 6-8.
On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine, the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.

Therefor, if the Christian believer is awaiting such a feast, it is to be anticipated and celebrated in the body as a foreshadow of the glory of God that is to come. As it is tradition during the season of Lent to utilize Sunday as a day to omit the fasting process and to enjoy the fellowship of the body. In such a situation, it is the act of fasting that heightens the enjoyment of the time together. It is more the habit of the modern church to over program event driven times of fellowship that rarely accomplish a heightened sense of fulfillment from being in the body. In the agricultural world, before a seed can be planted, the ground must be tilled, broken apart, allowing for air and water to enter into what was previously dense and compacted. In doing so, the seed is given room to spread roots out and establish a fertile base. Prayer and fasting are the tools that till the soil of a persons heart. Without fasting that is focused in prayer on communing with God, the seed of faith will find it difficult to spread its roots out freely. The living water of the Word, the life giving breath of God and the light of the Lord will have an inadequate system in which to be received. Ultimately, the fruit of the Holy Spirit will be lacking, and the life that was designed to be a banquet for the body, will now serve only as an invitation to a famine.

The current shifting of post-modernism throughout Western Civilization places the church at a fork in the road. During the classical age of the church, spiritual traditions were routinely utilized and were formative to developing social and cultural norms. However, the modernist movement, steeped in the discovery of the unknown and the scientific explanation of things once thought unimaginable, shifted the church from a center of spiritual formation to more  of a center of spiritual distribution. The church began the model the new king of the era – the corporate business.

While Catholic, Orthodox, and other liturgically centered denominations were able to retain many of their rich spiritual traditions, other groups of reformed believers sought to model more purely the monastic and apostolic origins. Mass and O’Donnell write about John Wesley’s strong emphasis on individual moral and spiritual accountability. Wesley’s held to a legalistic understanding of the means of grace as: faithfulness in corporate worship, frequent Communion, private and family prayer, daily study of Scripture alongside fasting and abstinence.7 While it is commendable to establish such discipline along a spiritual journey, there is a dangerous snare of allowing pride to enter into the action and practice of discipline, corrupting its God centered nature, and causing the person to center the focus of achievement onto themselves. The same folly as mentioned in Richard Foster case, man can easily lose focus of God initiated discipline and contort it to be a device that man uses to get what he wants.

The twentieth century saw a slow transition away from modernism in the western world. After the horror of the World Wars, the church was mostly silent in the face of such opportunity to right wrongs. The growth of the music industry, developing technologies, and the increased mobility of the family unit all gave great support to the growing post-modern movement. Art, philosophy, and politics have dramatically shifted over the last seventy-five years, large and in part to a growing sense of relativity around the subject matter of truth. No longer is the question being asked, “Is it true?” Instead, the post-modern mind asks, “How do I feel about this?” Churches are adapting to answer the later question, but are also leaving behind cumbersome traditions that don’t easily appeal to the natural senses.

Allen brings fasting back into a post-modern perspective by invoking a paradigm shift, “hunger, toil and solitude are the means of extinguishing the flames of desire.The hunger of fasting is a constant reminder of the sacrifices made for us by God incarnate in his earthly life. Each time we feel hunger or resist the temptation to eat and drink we are reminded of why we are not eating or drinking, namely because we want to become people whose entire heart, mind, soul, and strength are devoted to loving God.” He continues, “One of the most important barriers to the spiritual life is that we tend to regard God as our opponent, not our helper.”8 Sad, but true.

The god that is worshiped in much of post-modern civilization is the god of the self. Fasting is one of the only tools, that when used properly, can realign us into a state of dependance on something larger than ourselves, something that is outside of us, and yet at the same time deep within ourselves. Fasting bridges the gap between the primitive Adam who hunted his food from day to day and our modern refrigerators that provide for us what we want, when we want it, how we want it. Fasting is the denial of self provision and self communion, so that communion with God can be achieved in such abundance that the very presence of God overflows from our vessel into the greater reservoir that is the body.

The individuals corporate spiritual life should not outshine their private spiritual life. There are too many churches that have fallen victim of a modernist movement to slap a logo and slogan on spirituality, write a jingle for it, and promise the masses that it will cure all their problems. In turn, those that have found themselves dissatisfied with the modernist approach have moved away from the truth and have sought after a fulfilling the of the emotional capacities in spirituality. While more organic, unfortunately this approach is a vessel with a leaky crack and requires constant cycles of filling and emptying. 

The classical value to spiritual formation was modeled by so many of the patriarchs of our faith and ultimately illustrated by our Lord on the cross. We must fast from this world, loosening its dominion over our desires, and yearn for the true sustaining goodness of Jesus Christ. If we eat of this world, our lives will be a famine to the body around us, but if we fast, the soil of our hearts will thirst for the goodness of God and bring out an upright shoot that will promise to be a feast bearing source of spiritual fruit. It is in dying to self that we find life in the body around us.

  1. Diogenes Allen, Spiritual Theology (Cambridge: Cowley Publications, 1997), 9.
  2. Marjorie J. Thompson, Soul Feast (Westminster: John Knox Press, 1995), 87.
  3. Macrina Wiederkehr, Seeing the Holy in the Ordinary (San Francisco: Harper, 1991), 53.
  4. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline (HarperOne, 1988) 49.
  5. Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way (New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1995) 116.
  6. Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2005) 30.
  7. Maas and O’Donnell, Spiritual Traditions for the Contemporary Church. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1990) 321.
  8. Diogenes Allen, Spiritual Theology (Cambridge: Cowley Publications, 1997), 83.

The Cave

Brian McGee
August 5th, 2012
Fuller Seminary • SP500
Spiritual Traditions and Practices
Glen Eyrie • Colorado Springs, CO
Silent Retreat Reflection

Do I stay on the path or do I climb the rock face? These are my lasting reflections from my time of silence following our retreat at Glen Eyrie. I came into our week of classes exhausted after two, week long Young Life camp trips combined with the preparation and follow up work that comes with them. My physical exhaustion was only multiplied by my mental exhaustion from preparing for our class. Emotionally and Spiritually, I was crushed. The day before I left for Colorado, I was told by my local committee that my position with the area was being consolidated with my director’s job and that my services we going to be transitioned out of our local area. I missed my wife and daughter, and deep down, just wanted to run away from life.

Regardless of how I felt on the inside, I packed my bags, put on a smile, and went off to class. In our time of retreat, a lot of the work that we had been doing was able to permeate my defenses and work into those cracks in my heart caused by the last month of trials. After our morning dismissal, I walked over to Echo Rock Canyon and saw a trail head. I live on a flat island that lacks real opportunities for wilderness adventure, so my decision was already made for me, I was taking this trail where ever it went. It was an aggressive climb along the side of some beautiful red rock spires. I came to a part of the trail that forked off naturally away from the rocks and a path that looked a little less traveled along the face of the rock formations. I wasn’t ready to take it easy, so I continued to follow the path along the rock face. I scaled the side of the sloped path, feeling the soft sand and grit work its way into my fingers, a feeling I had been longing for.

I arrived at the top of the path, the rock face leveled off to form a new trail that encircled a final rock spire. I felt really satisfied with my decision to not take it easy. As I reflected on the climb, thoughts rushed my mind from the last six years of my journey. My imagination drew connecting points from my life journey and my recent climb. I was on the top of a large rock with a trail before me that I can continue to travel on, this was an optimistic forecast for what was before me. I felt reminded that my journey was not over.

I spent the next hours exercising the techniques found in Saint Ignatius of Loyola's Examen process. Psalm 84 quickly brought me back to my teenage years. One of the first worship songs that I learned while part of my first small group Bible study was “Better is One Day”. It allowed me to easily acknowledge all of the great gifts God had given me. I really enjoyed spending some time just sitting in verse 10, “I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.” Over the last few months, as I forecasted my career change, I anxiously worried about whether I should stay in a ministry environment or to take a position in the business world using my graphic design degree. This verse helped me to remember that whether I do one or the either, I should avoid the earthly spoils of comfort and power that would come with living the good life. I entered into my period of  asking. I wanted to know God’s desire for me, I wanted to know who he saw me as. Before he answered, I needed to unveil myself of what I was not. My life is filled with many false gods that require me to placate my identity. I entered into a period of admitting these sins and repenting from serving under them. I would no longer allow money, power, achievement, and comfort to control me. I declared that I would enter my Lord’s house and dwell there, resolving to find my comfort only in him. Psalm 32 was a sweet acknowledge of his forgiveness, and brought a new joy into my heart.

At the completion of the examen, my heart felt rejuvenated, but unchallenged. The worries that age a man, felt temporarily lifted, and a teenage fire burned within my bones. I longed for something stupid, something irrational; I wanted to do something without limitations. I walked along side the path surrounding the rock spire, and I saw a small cave about 30 feet up. There was a natural crease in the rock formation that would make for a possible climb. I tossed aside my bag and sweatshirt, and grabbed ahold of the rock. I climbed up to the cave and sat down to rest. I was overcome with excitement that I had done something that really involved risk. There are a lot of things in our daily lives that we consider risky, just driving a car in New York for one thing is taking your life into you own hands, but the risk is negated by a sense of repetitive numbness. There isn’t a healthy fear and sense of satisfaction that comes with achieving the risk when there is a visible safety net in place. 

As I sat in the cave, I reflected back on what I had done. The climb up the rock face required a lot of sacrifice. I had to take off the things I was carrying that would burden me. I had to step out of my comfort zone by walking off of the known path. I had to scale upward on an unexplored surface without the proper gear or safety personnel. I knew that the path that God has for me in the near future will be very similar. There will be things that I need to let go of: relationships, family proximity, and responsibilities. I won’t necessarily have what I need for the journey, but God will provide a way and urge me forward. I won’t be familiar with the path ahead, but it will test me, challenge me to grow, and provide a new perspective into not only God, but also a bird’s-eye view into myself. The alternative path would be safe, familiar, and while challenging, will not guarantee the opportunity for a new perspective.

While I was in the cave, I positioned myself to look deeper into God’s word in a period of Lectio Divina. Psalm 139 was my guide in this time. I really connected with it’s themes of overcoming abandonment. I rested on the verse: “search me O God, and know my heart, see if there be anything in me that offends you, and forgive me.” I repeated this prayer continuously as I rested in the cave. I was reminded of two additional scriptures as I contemplated the magnitude of God’s word. The first was the Old Testament account of Elijah in the cave as he searched for God’s voice in the earthquake, the firestorm, and the great wind, but could not find it. God’s voice came in the soft and gentle wind. The second account was from the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus reminds us not to worry, for look at the flowers in the field, how they are more beautifully dressed than even Solomon's court. I glanced outside of the cave and there growing along the edge of the rock were small little flowers, not only surviving in arduous conditions, but thriving. I took a picture of the view [cover page] to remind me of God’s promise. He spoke to me in a very gentle wind that day.

It was good to begin my climb down and return to our class room where we could enjoy the Eucharist together. I am very grateful for the opportunity to reflect and to grow in my perspective of how God see’s me. The class offered me several opportunities to grow in community and to share my insight with others, as we all grow closer to Christ.

God's Logo

Hey Everyone, I'm Brian, for those who don't know, I work as a graphic designer, one of the cool things that I get to do with that is to create logos for different companies. We all know what logos are, when we see a logo of a company we like, we usually feel good about the product that we are buying. You'll more likely to reach for a Coke can than a knock off version, you get the picture. We'll, I'm going to try out your knowledge of the world of logos with a quick little identification test. I have a series of logos, name the company that they represent, let's see how you do:

Great! Now, when you saw one of the logos up there, maybe the Starbucks logo for example, it was just a simple graphic, but what it made you think about was much deeper than that, If you love going to Starbucks, when you saw that logo, maybe you got a little thirsty, you thought about that comfortable chair in the corner where you can spend an hour by your self just checking your facebook while enjoying your favorite drink... all that from just a simple picture. That's the cool thing about logos, we can take big, complex, abstract ideas, and condense them down into simple, memorable, and interactive symbols.

Throughout time, men and women have used logos to communicate thoughts and feelings that were too difficult to understand right off the bat; things that you needed to experience to truly understand. One example would be Young Life's logo. I'm sure if you've come to YL before, and you've tried to explain it to a friend that you have invited, you've found it a little harder to get across what it is like. It's one of those things you just have to come to and experience it in order to really understand it. That's why our logo says simply "You were made for this". 

We really do believe that you were created for the very things that we stand for, namely: fun, adventure, truth, love, and most importantly, God.

Undoubtably, the biggest, most complex and abstract idea to ever enter into the human mind has consistently been the idea of God. Is there a God, or isn't there a God. If there is a God, what is he like? What does he want from me? What does he think of me? Do I want anything from him? These are questions that mankind has wrestled with since the creation of time. The Bible has a really amazing way of letting us know that God understands why we have these questions. God knows that he is bigger than our imaginations. God knows that his complexity is something that we can't even come close to understanding. Because he understands this, he did something about it. God doesn't want to be distant from us, he doesn't want us to be afraid of him, he wants us to know him, and to allow ourselves to be known by him. God created us so that we could be in a relationship with him. Ultimately, that is what it means when we say, You were made for this.

The Bible has a book in it called the Gospel of John, and it starts off like this:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life,and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

it goes on to say

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Here is what is really cool about what this section says. The Gospel of John was written in Greek, the most popular language of the time following the conquests of Alexander the Great. We get the word "Word" from the Greek word "Logos". So if I read it again, pay close attention to what I'm saying. 

1 In the beginning was the Logo, and the Logo was with God, and theLogo was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life,and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 14 The Logo became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

This scripture is saying that Jesus Christ is the Logo of God. God, the big, complex, abstract, hard to understand "thing" wanted us to be able to approach him and understand him, and so he became simple, and took on the form of one of us, a man named Jesus. He walked this Earth 2,000 years ago, and we have a wealth of information about who he was, what he did, and what people thought of him. God wants us to get to know him by first getting to know Jesus Christ.

Let me give you an example. I'm a grown up, and like most grown ups, i have a wide array of needs, emotions, desires, etc. My attitude can shift with just the slightest impulse. If you wanted to get to know me beyond just the surface, you would need to study my behavior and scrutinize the details until you found a pattern and then you would have to test it over and over again, asking me for more feedback so that you could eventually come up with a profile of my personality. Luckily, I have a 1 year old daughter, and if you spend more than 5 minutes with her, you would realize that she, like most toddlers, is pretty one dimensional in comparison to an adult. When she wants something, she will yell for it, or climb her way to get it. When she is tired, she will just pass out somewhere, no problem. Her and I are a lot a like deep down. We both share a deep love for adventure and curiosity. We both love to laugh, and we can also get a bit of an attitude when people take things away from us. So, if you want to get to know me, get to know my daughter, we're a lot a like, she is just much easier to understand.

I'll say it again, if you want to get to know God, get to know Jesus. I am going to be looking at who Jesus is in my blog. I think it is one of the absolute best things that we can possibly do together. I want you guys to get to know me, but more importantly, I really want you to see how Jesus has made a change in my life. So with that being said, let's take a quick look at just who this Jesus guy was. This account of his life comes from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 5.

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. - scientific side point - sound travels better over water than it does ground, this is because the sound waves are amplified as they pass over the water. So if Jesus was going to provide himself some space between him and the crowd, and make sure he was going to be heard by everyone, this was the right thing to do. Also, just my opinion, I'm thinking that he wasn't just being clever, he wanted Simon to have a front row seat to what he was teaching.
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.” - side note, Fish, who are cold blooded, meaning that their bodies change temperature depending on their environment do the majority of their eating at night when the water is cool. Simon is a fisherman, Jesus is a carpenter. Simon would know that this is a bad time to go fishing, however, he chooses to go along with it, despite knowing that he would have to re-clean his nets, a process that cost him time and money. He was desperate, and had nothing to lose.
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.
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, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. - side note, in this very moment, Simon had just had the catch of a lifetime. In a society where meat was rare, this catch of fish was going to bring him a lot of wealth at the market place. If anything, Peter should be jumping up and down celebrating, but instead, something deep inside him causes him to beg Jesus to stay away from him. Simon was a Jew, and the Jewish people have always believed that a man cannot stand in the presence of God because of this condition that we call Sin. God is perfect and can not be tainted by the imperfect. When Simon saw that Jesus, who he thought was this ordinary carpenter and just happened to know a few things about scripture was much more than just a man he called him Lord. In that moment, Simon is saying, "if you can do this, you must be God, and if you are God, you are probably going to destroy me for all of the evil things I have done." Simon had a messed up understanding of who God was. He had no idea just how much God loved him, just how much God knew about him, and just how much God wanted a relationship with him. Simon needed to take a look at God's logo, Jesus and get the whole story.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Simon left everything. That entire catch. All that potential money. He left his boats and his nets, the things that he could use to make more money if this Jesus thing didn't work out. Simon was so convinced that Jesus was much more than just a carpenter, that he left everything he had to follow him. Jesus knew that Simon liked to fish, so he let him know that he was going to still be able to fish in a sense, but it would be for people, he would be a leader. This is something that Simon wanted very much, and God knew it, he had created him that way, Simon just needed to experience Jesus in order to understand God's plan for him.

If you want to get to know God, get to know Jesus. Thanks for reading!


"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."