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Needy Disciples

He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”

John 21:6
Needy Disciples Book Cover

needy disciples

Perhaps one of the most dangerous lies in American culture lurks around the pretense of internal strength. Phrases like “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” and “self-made woman” ignite confidence and pride. But peek behind the curtain of self-sufficiency and we find needy people pretending to have it all together. All humans, despite our best efforts to convince ourselves and others that we can do it on our own, need the Lord, his provision, and his people. As we see in today’s passages, need does not make us weak. It makes us dependent on the provider of all good things.

In Matthew 17, need arose out of a desire to avoid offending others. Jesus should have been exempt from the temple tax for two reasons: 1) He was a rabbi and rabbis paid no taxes, and 2) He was the Son of God, and sons get a pass too. But he told Peter to pay the tax so they wouldn’t unnecessarily offend the Jewish leaders. The tax, a half shekel, cost both Peter and Jesus two days’ wages. Since Jesus left behind his carpenter days to begin his itinerant ministry and Peter dumped his fishing nets to follow him, these two men found themselves in immediate need of four days’ wages.

Fast-forward to John 21, and Peter again finds himself in need. After the crucifixion and resurrection, but before their great commissioning to build the church, the disciples found themselves unsure of what to do next. Maybe out of financial need or simply to pass the time, Peter and several other disciples returned to their fishing profession. After a full night of fishing, their nets remained empty. Again, successful fishermen could grit their teeth and attempt to pull themselves up by their own sandal-straps or they could admit their need. Even professionals need help.

abundant provider

Both stories of neediness find their resolution in the great provider: Jesus. In the first fishing story we learn that Jesus sometimes provides in unexpected ways. Jesus could have pulled a coin out of Peter’s ear or simply asked someone for it. Instead, he sent Peter back to the familiarity of his trade to demonstrate that, even there, Peter needed Jesus’s help. In the second fishing story we learn that Jesus provides abundantly. Following a night of failure, Jesus would only need to provide a decent catch to razzle-dazzle the disciples. Instead, he filled their nets to the brim. He knew he would send them to fish after men and women soon, so he used this fishing outing as a lesson for the future. Rely on your own strength and your nets might come up empty. Rely on the Lord’s provision and he will supply your every need.

Like Peter, we have opportunities every day to choose to bring our needs to the One who provides. Rather than viewing our needs as a sign of weakness, we should endeavor to view them as opportunities to rely on the Lord.

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Daily Question

What are the current needs in your life that you are tempted to solve all on your own? In what ways can you allow the Lord to offer you his presence, his people, or his provision?

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Comments (8)

Most of my needs I try to solve on my own; when I fail, then I realize I did it wrong – I should have asked for God’s help. I’m slowly remembering to do that first.

I think like most people, I try to handle things on my own – only when it seems too big for me to do I take it to God first. I should remember that He cares about EVERYTHING that concerns me.

Often times, I try to figure out the little things on my own, but sadly discover that those little things can grow to be huge issues. That’s when I tend to run to the Lord. But He wants all of me to surrender to Him. I can allow the Lord to offer me His presence, His people, or His provision by keeping the lines of communication open with Him and asking Him for His will in all of my circumstances big or small.

Probably issues with my health and with my relationship….. which always never seem to get solved on my own and I learn things the hard way at times but usually do t make the same mistake twice…. so I need to learn to give it up to God to handle these issues…

Living life in the now. Being grateful for every miracle big or small, for his everyday provision. He promises to take care of me daily.

My health. I know God is with me because He has sent me to the right doctors at the right time. He has given me strength this far, so why do I continue to question Him. He’s got this.

I must learn to consult God before attempting to handle issues.Small issues without God results in big issues that I can not solve. I then pray and seek God when He was there for me at the beginning. No problem is too small for God

I am always like I can do it, I don’t need help. I don’t want to ask for help. I always feel like I’m a burden if I’m asking someone to help me. The same goes when asking God for things that I need. Sometimes it seems like the needs are so little that I shouldn’t burden him with that, but the truth is he wants me to come to him with all of my needs he wants to be involved in all of the areas in my life that are going good and some that are kind of a mess and I need his provision. All I need to do is ask and not feel like I’m a burden!!

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