Peter ran a profitable fishing business. He even had a lake house with a view. Really. I walked through Capernaum just a couple months ago and saw the place where Peter’s house once stood, literally a stone’s throw from the Sea of Galilee whose waves gently lapped at the basalt pebble beach. It is a beautiful spot. A place someone could get used to. Be comfortable in. Make home.
And then Jesus comes along and says, “Follow me.”
And Peter did. He left his nets behind.
Once Peter even left the boat behind…when it was still out on the water! I cannot imagine what possessed Peter to say, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” The boat was his security, his safety, his sense of control, the place he belonged.
Nonetheless, Jesus replied, “Come!’
And Peter did. He left the boat behind.
Eventually Peter left it all behind. “We have left everything to follow you!” he later announced to Jesus. The pride behind that statement would soon be broken, but the truth of it would remain. Peter did leave everything behind, including his life, to follow Jesus. This was faith. And by this faith Peter gained infinitely more than he ever lost.
This is the faith that Peter wants to see worked into his hearers…into us. It’s not really about leaving things behind. That’s actually looking at it backwards. It’s about valuing Jesus so much that we choose to follow, and then, as the song goes, “the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.”