Success will Reveal What is In Our Hearts

I’m reading in Luke right now for my daily devotions with the Lord. A few days ago, I was reading in Luke 5 where Jesus calls Peter to be His disciple. In the first part of the story, Peter is referred to generically as one of the “fishermen”. Christ gets into his boat, puts out from shore a short distance and teaches the people. One can rightly assume that Peter listened.

After Christ had finished His teaching, he tells Peter to go out into the Lake and drop his nets, even though Peter had fished all night and had caught virtually nothing. But based on Christ’s request (I suspect, bolstered by His teaching which was not recorded for us in Luke 5), Peter puts out his nets.

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 Peter saw this result, he fell at Jesus knees and said “Go away from me, Lord: I am a sinful man!”. Christ uses this experience to show Peter that he will become an evangelist, “catching” men for the Kingdom rather than fish for the stomach.

What I was struck with was Peter’s strong sense of sinfulness. He knew he didn’t deserve this success. From a business viewpoint, Peter had just landed the “big contract”. His ship had “come in”. Peter had been so blessed by the Lord that his capacity to receive that blessing was in danger of survival (note the boats began to sink under the weight of the fish).

When God blesses our businesses and we have extra cash or more customers than we can possibly manage, how do we react? Having been in this spot, I can tell you that there’s only one of two basic reactions: pride or humility. And the reaction isn’t so much a choice as it is a revelation of what is in your heart. If you don’t see the blessing as coming solely from God, you’ll have pride in your accomplishment. As “Christianized” as your reaction might be, you’ll still have pride mixed in with it. But if you see Christ as being the One from whom your wealth comes, you’ll react like Peter: I am a sinful man and this blessing is totally underserved.

Now, there are other Scriptures which I won’t detail in this post that point us to the truth of our stewardship responsibilities to actively earn a profit for the Kingdom of God. But in this passage, we are taught that no matter how hard we work in our business, our success comes from God. A heart filled with humility and love for God will react as Peter did: with a strong sense of one’s own sinfulness, a strong sense of undeservedness, and a strong sense of wanting to follow God, as Peter did Christ.

Bill English