Get a Whiff of That!

“And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭5‬:‭11‬ ‭


Yeah. That’s pretty rank.

The garbage, I mean.

Oh, I’m well aware that garbage in general, by its very definition, is a smelly and revolting mess. But this got my attention, let me tell you.

As a rule, when we eat shellfish of any kind, I dispose of them differently than I do other garbage. For example, I will pop shrimp tails into the sealed bag the shrimp were purchased in. That way, the decaying crustacean smell will be kept at bay for a few days, buying some time until the trash is ready to be removed from our house.

But this time?

I skipped that phase.

Hopping about on crutches means that ‘skipping phases’ has become essential. I’m trying to do as little as possible in the kitchen to make sure my broken ankle has the chance to heal properly.

So, as I say, I skipped that phase.

And passing near the garbage this morning alerted me immediately to the error of my ways.

Smelly stuff.

Which makes this endearing story in Luke so much more – sensory.

See, Peter and the boys had been fishing all night. (Yes, that Peter.) They hadn’t caught a thing. They were bloodshot and frustrated, I’m sure. Then along comes Jesus.

Oh, they knew of Him. They’d probably heard Him speak, and spoken to Him.

They didn’t really know Him. Not yet.

So when He suggests throwing their nets over the other side of the boat, it may have come across as – out of touch.

‘Read the room, Jesus. We are fishermen. We know what we’re doing, thank you very much.’ (I wonder if it felt rather pretentious?)

Anyway, Peter responds in his first ever act of faith. He tosses in the nets as directed.

And they are immediately filled with so many fish, the boat started to swamp. The other boat in the business partnership immediately drew alongside to assist, and it too, was filled to the brim.

I love Peter’s response.

“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.”” Luke‬ ‭5‬:‭8‬

Um, wha- ?

He’s struggling with a heavy net full of fish, looking a huge payday right in the face, and he is at that very moment suddenly distracted by his chequered past?

How – very odd.

How – very revealing.

See, he’s a fisherman. He knows fish. He knows the water. He knows that this – this is unlike anything in the natural world that he’s ever seen.

He knows he’s in the presence of Someone altogether different from him, and he’s floored. He responds in humility and self awareness.

See, his one baby step of faith has led to a huge internal shift.

But Peter’s bombshell learnings don’t stop there.

He and his friends, when called to follow by Jesus, do. They follow.

Yeah, I know.

It seems to be a simple step. Follow the One who just revealed His supernatural power and authority over the sea and all within it. No brainer, right?

But here’s the thing.

They didn’t deal with the fish.

They had just been handed a literal boatload of fish. And they left them there.

Wait, what?

Peter the fisherman. Peter, whose past actions smell to high heaven. Peter, who is willing to leave it all behind for the chance to follow Jesus.

The financial loss alone positively screams for attention. I mean, that was a pile of money lying there on the beach. Who was going to benefit? Who was going to clean up the mess? Who was going to get the nets mended? Who would bring the boats into their slips? Who would –

Well, let’s consider.

If Peter wasn’t worried about it, why am I?

He had just ‘gotten a whiff’ of his old life, and he was immediately willing to cut his losses and reach out for the one thing his heart was really craving.

Relationship with his Maker.

Now, money in itself isn’t evil. This huge haul of fish, or to put it into our terms, this huge business success, this financial windfall, wasn’t what was smelling – off.


It was the sins in his life Peter was walking away from, striding with tentative steps down that beach in the shadow of the Master.

He’d had a good whiff.

And that was enough.

Friend, how about your garbage?

You and I both know that there are things that we like to keep secret because if loosed, they’d smell to high heaven.

One interaction, one genuine meet-up with Jesus could encourage us to ditch the smell and follow His footsteps toward a new life.


Would you get a whiff of that!

Leave the garbage behind for a walk with Jesus with me?

Father, so much of the time we go ‘nose blind’ to what is wrong on our lives. Illuminate our lives with Your presence, that we would be more and more willing to leave things behind that are hindering our relationship with You. Amen.

Published by melodylowes

I am actually a bit of a mess. But in the mess, I’m finding security in knowing I am chosen, I am forgiven, and I matter. After uncovering a history of abuse in my past, I have done a lot of healing - and writing is one way I can invite you deeper into your own healing journey! I write devotionals about the complicated thing called life at, and my poetry is stashed at Pull up a chair and a coffee or tea and let's grow together!

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