Five Minute Friday prompt: Excuse
It was the phrase “more than these” that really caught me.
The resurrected Jesus has appeared to his disciples on the beach after a long night of fishing. They caught nothing until he called out to them, offering instructions to switch their nets to the other side of the boat. That might have seemed crazy to experienced fishermen after so many fruitless (fishless) hours. Still, it worked. Of course it worked.
So what is Jesus asking Peter? Do you love me more than the other disciples love me? Peter couldn’t have answered that. Do you love me more than you love the other disciples? Unlikely he would stir up rivalry … the disciples have mastered that game so well they need Jesus’ help unlearning it. Do you love me more than fishing? Bingo! Because following Jesus will be harder, more challenging, more rewarding, and will cost Peter way more than fishing.
Like Peter, I’m certain Jesus knows that I love him. Like Peter, I repeat: I love you, I love you, I love you. I have followed Jesus since childhood.
But “more than these?” Hmm. What is my version of fishing, the things I could offer as excuses to not follow Jesus, or not follow as closely? What excuses do I put before him?
Anxiety. A hard day. Stress. Comfort. So many big emotions, all my drama. Other responsibilities on the To-Do list. Hobbies. Fatigue. Occasionally, even boredom. I have been around God’s house forever, have seen and done and heard it all, and sometimes it feels too familiar. Lackluster.
I can offer lots of excuses, but the real issue is this: what am I willing to put aside to demonstrate my love for Jesus more than anything else? Because nothing else measures up.
I cling to his promise: Jesus came to give life, abundant life at that. I want complete joy, overflowing love, a full life that only following him can offer.
I’m gonna make myself a note and tack it up as a reminder: More Than These.
What excuses do you make, and how do you remind yourself to put Jesus first?