Total Commitment

Luke 5:3-5 - And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to push out a little way from the land. And he sat down and began teaching the multitudes from the boat. 4And when He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." 5And Simon answered and said, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but at your bidding I will let down the nets."

Read the whole account in Luke 5:1-11.

We say that we are committed to the Lord Jesus Christ. How committed? Total commitment means that Jesus Christ is Lord in every area of our lives. He must be Lord on Saturday night as well as Sunday morning. He must be Lord of our bodies as well as our brains. He must be Lord of what we save as well as what we sacrifice. He must be Lord of our careers as well as our creed. Are we totally committed to Jesus Christ? Is He Lord of all?

At the beginning of Luke 5, we see that Peter is on the beach washing his fishing nets. When we come to verse 11 we see that Peter has left his boat, his nets, and everything to follow the Lord. The miracle of the great catch of fish has resulted in a miracle in the life of Peter. The steps toward total commitment which we see here in the case of Peter are steps that growing Christians must take as well.

The first step is "getting involved." Peter is willing to let Jesus use his boat. Luke 4:38 would indicate that Peter already knew the Lord at this time, but until now he has been content just to hear the Word of God while continuing his normal way of living (verses 1 and 2). What a picture of a lot of Christians! Know the Lord? Yes! Willing to listen to the Word of God? Yes! But not much change in life­style. In fact, from their lives it is hard to differentiate them from non­Christians trying to get ahead in this world, of all things. "Washing nets" for a bigger catch! Just barely within the hearing distance of the Lord.

But now Peter takes a step in the right direction. He turns his boat over to the Lord. We too must be willing to turn over what we own to the Lord for His use. We own things. We own time. We own talent. Are we willing to share our cassette tapes and books which have been such a help to us? Are we willing to turn over our homes to the Lord (including the cherished furniture which will take a beating from those who need to meet the Lord)?

Are we willing to make time available for the Lord's use? What about that student in need of love who keeps disrupting schedules and draining away precious study time? Are we willing to invest our abilities and talents and gifts, or should we go on "hoarding" them? Is my athletic ability, for example, available in some way for the Lord to use, or do I use it only to bring glory to myself? It is hypocrisy to speak of total commitment to the Lord when we are not willing to turn over our "boats" to Him.

The next step the Lord wants us to learn about total commitment is, "...push out a little" (verse 3). It is one thing to take what we own and make it available for the Lord's use, but it is another thing to step out a little by faith from the "security of the land." Let us not only open our room or home for a Bible study, but let us actually start one! Let us not only make our weekends available for the Lord, but let us actually teach a Sunday School class! Let us not only give of our small savings for the spread of the good news, but let us actually verbalize the gospel! Yes, it takes faith­­ and courage (pushing out!!  There is risk and sacrifice involved, but that's what pushing out from land is all about.

The Lord Jesus does not force Peter; He asks him (verse 3). The Lord could have simply walked out on the water without the use of any boat. But He doesn't. He wants Peter to get "a piece of the action." He chooses to teach people out of Peter's boat. God would teach us here that He delights to use us for His glory if we just step out a little bit by faith. But we love the security of the land. We are reluctant to move away from shore. How can we talk about total commitment to Jesus Christ if we are not willing to "push out a little"?

There's another step toward total commitment in verse 4. Peter is told to "launch into the deep." Here is total dependence on the Lord. No more land or shallow water! It is here where commitment is no longer a sideline. In many ways, it is the point of no return. My education and career are no longer planned with the comfort of "solid ground" in view. My field of work and study are determined by God's will for my life.

It is no longer a question of what field will give me the greatest return, security, peace, or chance for advancement in this world. It is now a matter of my education, my "career," my choice of life partner, my all being subject to the Lordship of Christ. Am I still playing at token efforts in the shallow water of Christian commitment, or have I "launched out into the deep"?

It is in the deep that we experience the Lord's power. We learn that He really does provide in a miraculous way for the very needs that may have held us back from total commitment! We may "work all night" to make it in this life and still "catch nothing" (verse 5). But the person who is totally committed to the Lord does not "sweat" the needs of this life. He knows that if he seeks first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all these things will be provided. (See Matthew 6:33).

It is in the deep that we learn to worship. Jesus is no longer just "a Friend invited into my life." He is God! When Peter experienced the Lord's power in the deep, he was not only amazed (verse 9), but fell down before Jesus and confessed, "I am a sinful man, O Lord." The more committed we are to Jesus Christ, the more we are aware of our sinfulness and His holiness. What a blessing to know that the Lord Jesus does not depart from us, but comforts us and transforms us. "Don't be afraid, from now on you will be catching men" (verse 10).

Peter had reached the point of no return. He left everything and followed his Lord. Yes, there were failures yet to come in Peter's life. Total commitment does not mean perfection. It's a matter of taking self off every throne of life and enthroning Christ. How committed are you to Jesus Christ? Have you "pushed out a little"? Have you "launched out into the deep"? Or are you still hung up on the beach? Total commitment means Jesus Christ is Lord of all.
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