September 3, 2020
While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God,
he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret.
He saw two boats there alongside the lake;
the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets.
Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon,
he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore.
Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”
Simon said in reply,
“Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
but at your command I will lower the nets.
”When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish
and their nets were tearing.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat
to come to help them.
They came and filled both boats
so that the boats were in danger of sinking.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him
and all those with him,
and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
who were partners of Simon.Jesus said to Simon,
“Do not be afraid;
from now on you will be catching men.”
When they brought their boats to the shore,
they left everything and followed him.
I’m sure many of you are familiar with Prosperity Theology. You give, you pray and then all you pray for will be given to you.
Obviously, that’s a very simplified version but it is about you giving more and more and praying harder and harder for whatever and – God will give it to you.
So, we get people very involved with giving and praying for something in return and if they don’t get what they were praying for – well, they didn’t give enough nor did they pray hard enough.
Today, when we hear how Simon did what Jesus told them to do and suddenly they had more, in this case fish, they couldn’t load anymore.
This is used by Prosperity folks a lot.
We do need to give to the Church. We need to give abundantly. And God will take care of us.
It’s the rest of it that is misguided.
When we pray, we don’t need to be praying for a payback from God. If, there is a quid pro quo in the reason we give – well, we’re doing it wrong.
We give because the church needs to have something to work with and it doesn’t mean 10% (tithe). It means give all you can – even if it hurts.
But once you’ve given, you don’t get to charge God a price for giving him whatever you have given to him, in most cases – money.
The most important lesson to take away from today’s Gospel is right at the very end. It’s what we are called to do but have so much trouble doing.
” . . . they left everything and followed him.”