There is a lot we can learn about prosperity and abundance in Luke the fifth chapter. But, let’s first examine what happens leading up to this story.
Jesus Steps Into Ministry
Jesus’ ministry started when he was baptized by John the Baptist and filled with the Holy Spirit. Then He was immediately led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil for forty days. And of course, the devil failed to get Jesus to sin.
Once the tempting was over, Jesus began to preach the good news and people were astonished. Well, until he made it back to his hometown where they tried to kill him when he told them he was anointed to preach the gospel.
He continued to travel around not just preaching the gospel, but also casting out unclean spirits and healing people.
After a long day, Jesus went to Simon’s house where he found Simon’s mother-in-law very sick. Jesus rebuked the fever, it left her immediately, and she got up and prepared a meal for them.
Then, one after another, sick people were brought to Jesus and he healed every one of them.
Jesus invests in us first.
Luke 5:1-3 NLT – As Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.
When you’ve read this in the past, you may have assumed this is the first time Simon met Jesus, but it wasn’t.
Remember, Jesus has already been to his house, healed his mother-in-law, and I am sure Simon watched Jesus heal people one-after-another. It may have even happened at his house. So, Jesus already had Simon’s respect at this point, which explains why Jesus used his boat.
This reveals something about Jesus’ character. He invested in Simon’s life before He asked for something from Simon.
Often, we think that Jesus just wants something from us. He wants 10% of our income. He wants our time. He wants our commitment.
Yes, He does want all of those things, but He made the first move. He invested in your life first. We are not trying to buy salvation. It’s already been given to us. Our job is to act on what’s already been done.
Tithing, giving, and everything else we do for God is simply a response to what He’s already done for us. It’s how we say thank you. It’s how we worship.
All this time, you may have thought the only form of worship was singing. But worship is anything we do in response to God’s love for us.
What convinced Simon?
Luke 5:4-5 NLT – When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”
Up to this point, Jesus had performed two types of miracles: healing and casting out demons. They had not yet seen what else Jesus could do.
Imagine. You just spent all day at work creating a document and it got deleted. Or, you spent all day working on a car and it still doesn’t work.
Then a guy who you respect and has even done some pretty cool things tells you to stay up all night and do it again.
“Alright, Jesus. I’ve seen you heal people. I’ve heard ya talk about some pretty cool stuff. But you really want me to fish some more after I just fished all night and caught nothing. You know if you don’t catch fish at night, it’s even more unlikely you’ll catch them during the day, right?”
So what convinced Simon to go ahead and do it anyway?
Luke 5:3 NLT – …So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds.
What did Jesus teach about? We don’t know for sure, but I imagine it was relevant to what was about to happen.
It probably went something like this.
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it…” (Genesis 1:28 NKJV)
But the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not heed you, so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 11:9 NKJV)
Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. (Deuteronomy 30:5 NKJV)
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (II Corinthians 9:8)
Throughout the Bible, over and over, we can see that God is a God of abundance and increase. He is not the God of barely-get-along. He is the God of more than enough.
I imagine this is what Jesus was teaching that day.
Jesus would not expect Simon step out in faith and go fishing again if He had not first taught him (Romans 10:17) about increase and abundance.
Remember, there was no miracle up to this point that would’ve shown Simon that Jesus was capable of a miracle of increase. The only thing that could stir up Peter’s faith is the Word of God.
God exceeds expectations.
Luke 5:6-7 NLT – And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
Even after Jesus’ teaching, Simon still only took one boat out fishing. I am sure he went out knowing that he would catch some fish this time, but in his mind, he still put a limit on what God could do.
Just imagine the look on Jesus’ face when Simon went out with one boat.
So, after an entire night of fishing and catching nothing, they go back out and within just a fraction of the time, they catch enough fish to practically sink not one, but two boats.
If Simon wouldn’t have stepped out in faith, none of this would have happened.
But, since Simon did step out in faith, putting action to what he had just heard Jesus teach, God exceeded his expectations. He broke the limit that was in Simon’s mind.
God requires our faith. But He does not require us to ‘fully get it’. Scripture says all we need is faith the size of a mustard seed and He does the rest.
He’ll meet you where you’re at. And even if you think you are all the way there, He is going to show up and exceed your expectation.
We think ordinary, God thinks extraordinary. We think “just give me enough to get by”, God thinks abundance. We think, “Let me manage this addiction”, God thinks freedom.
We ask for the possible when God wants to do the impossible. He specializes in exceeding our expectations. All we have to do is take one tiny step of faith and BAM, He’s on the scene.
Go beyond your comfort zone.
Luke 5:4 NLT – When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper…
In general, our tendency is to do just enough to get by. So I imagine when Simon was up fishing all night, he went just far enough where there was usually some fish. Because you know, it is quite a bit of effort to get out there and maybe even more effort to get back to shore.
But notice that Jesus didn’t ask Simon to go back out to where he was before. He asked him to go out deeper.
Go a little further than your comfort zone. Put in a little more effort than you did last time.
Because if Simon didn’t do this, he wouldn’t be acting in faith, he’d be acting on what he already knew.
God wants you to move past your comfort zone. He wants you to move beyond what you can do on your own. Because it’s then, and only then, that he can show up and exceed your expectations.
He’s not asking for a big jump. He just wants you to go a little deeper than what’s comfortable.
That small step allows you to activate your faith and believe God for a miracle. It allows you to believe for boat-sinking abundance and increase.
Now, let’s read the rest of the story.
Luke 5:8-11 NLT – When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
All It takes is a small step of faith.
It is quite apparent that Simon wasn’t full of faith when he went out to fish again. He must have thought he’d only catch a few fish, which is definitely better than catching none.
We often put the disciples on a pedestal as if they had some kind of super faith we are not capable of. But it’s quite obvious they were just like you and me.
Yes, Simon obeyed Jesus’ command, but of course, he had to give him a bit of sass first. And even though he obeyed, he still wasn’t 100% sure of what Jesus could do. But Jesus still performed the miracle.
If all it took from Simon was a bit of obedience and the tiniest bit of faith, that’s all it takes for Jesus to show up in your life.
If you want abundance and increase in your life, he just needs you to take that baby step. To go a little bit deeper and to have a little bit of faith in the fact that there are No Limits to what he can do in your life.
Jesus goes on the journey with you.
This part of the story also reveals that Jesus was on the boat with them this whole time. He didn’t send them out to do this on their own. He went on the journey with them.
I kind of imagined Jesus giving the command to Simon and waving from the shore as they went out to fish. Turns out, I was wrong. Jesus went with them.
What does this mean for you? You are not alone on your journey to abundance. He’s in the boat with you, encouraging you to row the boat just a little deeper. And after you get there, just a little deeper. And when you there, just a little deeper.
He may start by filling two boats, but it doesn’t end there. Once again, Jesus wants you to go a little deeper and let him fill five boats, then 10, then 1,000.
And he’s right there beside you. Supporting you along the entire journey. He knows there are no limits and he’s excited to show that that to you, step-by-step.
Abundance is not just for us.
The most important thing to point out from this story is that God brings abundance into our lives not just so that we will have wealth, but so that our wealth can enable us to impact those around us.
Jesus took Simon Peter on this journey to change his mindset. Jesus couldn’t have a group of disciples with a poverty mindset. He needed a group of abundance thinkers.
It’s a common belief that christians should be poor, with just enough to get along. And, we’ve believed it for years. We wear poverty as a badge of honor as if we are displaying an amazing feat of humility.
This pours over into how we reach others. We’ve become satisfied with affecting just a small group of people at our church. After all, if we believe for growth or accidently become a mega church, we’ve deviated from God’s plan or somehow watered down the message. Because, you know, all big churches are leading people away from Christ, not to Him, right?
The poverty mindset is a disease.
The poverty mindset is a disease that has robbed the church of its ability to fulfill its potential.
I am not saying that every church should be a megachurch. But what I am saying is that our vision should always lean towards abundance.
We should be a church that believes we will always have more than enough financially to fulfill what God has called us to do.
We should be a church that puts no limit on the number of people that we minister to. Our vision as a church should always be bigger than the season we are in right now.
You have a responsibility to operate in abundance.
For the church to operate in abundance, you have to operate in abundance. And the reason we operate in abundance is so that we can be fishers of men.
Jesus took Simon Peter on this adventure not just to make him successful, but so that Peter would come on to his team with a No Limits mindset.
You better know that after this, Peter did not put a limit on the number of people that healed, delivered and set free by the ministry of Jesus.
Let’s back up in this story a bit.
Luke 5:7 NLT – A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
Notice that the second boat didn’t go out with the first. They hung out on the shore to see what was going to happen.
Even though the second boat was faithless, they were able to latch on to Simon Peter’s faith, and because they did, their boat was filled with fish too.
If we are struggling to be a faith leader, then we should surround ourselves with people who are.
If you struggle believing God for finances, surround yourself with those who are living the abundant life so you can latch on to their blessing and eventually take it for yourself.
If you struggle to believe God for healing, surround yourself by people who live in divine healing so you can latch on to their faith and eventually believe it for yourself.
The goal here is not to always rely on others for abundance. The goal is to become a faith leader yourself, so your abundance can overflow to those around you.
Abundance is not just for you. It overflows on those around you.
Jesus made the first investment by teaching Simon and healing his mother-in-law.
Then Simon gave to Jesus. It may have been and empty boat, but still, Simon gave what he had available at the time. Jesus took this gift and multiplied it by providing enough fish to fill two boats.
Simon’s blessing for giving, obeying and stepping out in faith not only benefited him, but also those in the other boat.
And even beyond that, just think of all the lives affected by Simon Peter’s obedience. His abundance is still overflowing on us today!
- Accept your responsibility to live in abundance.
- Respond to Jesus’ investment by giving back to Him.
- Take a step of faith, go beyond your comfort zone, and dare to believe that God is going to break you boat-sinking abundance.