Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness," and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile." So let no one boast of human beings. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; and you are Christ's; and Christ is God's.
The Lord's are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers. (R./)
Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain. (R./)
He shall receive a blessing from the Lord,
a reward from God his saviour.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob. (R./)
While Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch."
Simon answered, "Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets." When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus" knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!" For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people." When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
Sometimes wealth or success can be our undoing, if we take it for granted and become arrogant or worse, start despising of others as "losers." Paul has a remedy for arrogance and pride: Let there be no boasting and no name dropping like, "I am of Paul or of Apollos or of Cephas." We should count our blessings, for "all things are yours," but then remember: you are Christ's and Christ is God's.
To appreciate our blessings can spur us to generosity. After Peter and his friends had landed a netful of fish from doing what Jesus told them, they were willing to risk all and follow him. There's a real "noblesse oblige" about this story. They were drawn to follow Jesus because he appealed to the best that was in them.
Most of us will have tasted the experience of failure in one shape or form. We may have failed to live up to the values and the goals that we had set ourselves; some enterprise or some initiative that we had invested in may have come to nothing; some relationship that was important to us may have slipped away from us. All such experiences can leave us feeling disheartened.
Such a move from failure to success is told in the gospel. We can hear Peter's discouragement when he mutters, 'we worked all night and caught nothing.' Then after the miraculous haul of fish he shouts out, 'leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.' Their initial failure does not have the last word. Jesus changed their fruitless labour into a marvellous catch; and he draws the reluctant Peter into his own work of gathering people into God's kingdom.
He is constantly at work in all kinds of unlikely people and situations, changing failure into success. For this to happen in our own lives, we must put our trust in him. He wants us to keeping launching out into deep water in response and help him let down the net of his saving grace.