God Knows…When I Want to be Happy – Part 1
GETTING nice things makes us happy. But there’s happiness that comes from GIVING nice things, too. Happiness is a balance of getting and giving. In its truest sense, it means accepting the gifts God wants us to enjoy and then sharing them with others.
“Happiness is net full of fish,” is what the fisherman Simon Peter and his friends probably thought. After a weary night out on the lake, they came back to shore with nothing to show for their efforts. The fishermen began to wash the detritus from their nets.
There were more people than usual down at the lake this morning. It could only be for one reason: Jesus was in the area. They swarmed around Him, so eager to hear what He had to say that He barely had room to stand at the water’s edge. Seeing one of the boats nearby, Jesus stepped into it and asked Peter to shove it out a little ways. From the boat, Jesus began to teach.
Exactly what Jesus said to the crowd that morning is not known, but His underlying message was, “I know a happier way for you to live. It’s the way of love.” He shook their thinking: “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” This kind of love would involve choices and actions, not just feelings. “Just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” What YOU give is more important than what others give you. “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.”
When He had stopped speaking, Jesus said to Peter, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon Peter may have thought the idea was nonsense. The water was so clear that nets would frighten the fish away in daytime. He answered, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”
When Peter and Andrew drew the net back in, it was so full of fish that it started to break! They shouted to James and John to bring their boat around to help. God had provided the biggest haul of their lives! At this point Peter came to an amazing realization: Jesus is the Son of God. Peter realized how little he had to give back to Jesus. Comparing himself with Jesus, he felt small and sinful. Peter threw himself at Jesus’ feet and cried, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man!”
Jesus replied, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” In other words: You have been getting for yourself. Now you will be giving My God News to others.” So the four fishermen they left their fishing careers to help Jesus full time.