Last fall, I decided to read the Bible through in a year. Some days I’ve missed, but overall, I am fairly consistent reading three chapters from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament each day. I’m up to Acts in the New Testament. The acts of the Apostles are recorded in a way that demonstrate to us the importance they put on showing others Jesus.
One of the recurring themes I noticed was that the Apostles regularly use the words immediately, at once, ran, race and now. In fact, in the 28 chapters of the book of Acts, these words are repeated 68 times. The breakdown looks like this: immediately, 11; at once, 6; ran, 2; race, 1; and now… 48 times!
Considering how they used the words, the Apostles must have thought what they were doing was important. Considering the timing of the Lord described by the words, He must have believed they were important. When God spoke, the Apostles immediately stopped or listened or obeyed. They heeded the word of the Lord at once. They ran to do His will. Paul even illustrated the journey of following the Lord as a race.
I consider my life worth nothing to me;
my only aim is to finish the race
and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—
the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
These people were responding to God. They weren’t debating whether on not it was convenient, they weren’t deciding how it would impact their family vacation or the next big purchase. When God spoke or led – they listened.
I really like the passage in Luke 5:4-7. Verse 4 is the Lord Jesus speaking to Peter.
4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon,
“Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the net.”
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish
that their net began to break.
7 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.
I’ve highlighted the key of these verses in blue. Jesus told them to expect abundance. They didn’t understand. Despite their hesitation, despite their doubts, despite the current results of their efforts they said,
“But because You say so, I will…”
Jesus told them to let down the nets. He had so much for them. They half-heartedly obeyed and let down a net. Jesus filled it to overflowing!
By the time Luke is recounting the Acts, the Apostles are starting to get it. Responding to Jesus means fulfillment. Things aren’t always easy. In fact, for the Apostles, the persecution was pretty harsh. They didn’t quit. They didn’t turn away. They ran to obey Him at once and the blessings to themselves and others were immediate.
So, now I look at my own life. What do I rush to? What’s the urgency in the things I do and the choices I make. Am I willing to let down all of the nets in my life so Jesus can fill them or do I only trust Him for a trial run on one net at a time.
I know the answer I’d like to give. I know that by giving everything to Jesus the blessings in my life will overflow. Can I, with my attitude and faith and the works of my hands, help the abundance of God’s blessings overflow in the lives of those around me? By running to God and responding to Him immediately when He leads I will let down all of my nets to love and obey Him. “Because you say so, Lord, I will.”