We all like shortcuts. Especially if they work. There is a feeling of relief when the GPS offers an alternative route around congested traffic that saves us 20 minutes.
Why? Because we like to get there fast. Wherever it is - even if we enjoy the journey - saving time on a trip is usually a good thing.
Following Jesus is like that: he gives us a power short-cut that - if we'll simply do this one thing, we'll get to the destination faster.
That one thing is found in the middle of a passage in Luke where Jesus begins to call people to follow him. This is in Luke 5:1-11, and this marks a shift in the ministry of Jesus. What we see from here through the rest of the gospel is that Jesus ministers to crowds but he makes disciples.
Now, that begs a question: what is a disciple? This word comes from the Latin discipulus and means something equivalent of the English word apprentice. More than just a student, a disciple is learning the ways of his master. There are three components of discipleship identified in Luke 5:1-11:
- A disciples follows Jesus: that means submitting to him as Lord.
- A disciples is in fellowship with other disciples.
- A disciples fishes for other people.
That's 3F discipleship: following, fellowshipping, and fishing. So what's the shortcut? Peter gives us the key - the heart of discipleship - when he responds to Jesus' request to push out into the deep water for a catch.
First, think of the audacity of a non-fisherman quasi-carpenter/Bible-teacher giving professional fisherman advice on their craft. But rather than react with pride, Peter simply says:
“Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”
Here's the key: if you want to make progress with God, just do what Jesus says. Submit to his Lordship, open your life to him, and tell that at his word - you'll do whatever he wants.
That's the surest, fastest, bestest way to get anywhere with God.