The Best Thing, by Demetria Patton

Can I let you in on a secret? If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you already have the best thing: Him. If you have yet to do so, let me let you in on another secret: Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior is the best thing you will ever do in this life. You will never regret it.

However, if I can be honest (well, I better be honest since I serve the God who keeps truth forever, Psalm 146:6), I didn’t always know that He was the best thing. There was a time when I thought the best things in life were things I could achieve and obtain—worldly treasures and pleasures that were fleeting and didn’t quite satisfy. I lived in a perpetual state of unrest, in search of more. More joy, peace, rest, fulfillment, satisfaction, and contentment. I assumed these things would come once I obtained everything I wanted. For me, “everything” was the career, the money, the comfort, Everything I spent seven consecutive years in undergraduate and graduate school working for.

Eventually, the hard work paid off. I got everything I wanted. I got the career, I got the money, I got the comfort.... and I was miserable. I received everything I wanted and none of what I needed. The things I hoped would come with the success didn’t, because true joy, peace, rest, fulfillment, satisfaction, and contentment can only be found in Jesus.

I sometimes reflect on that season, and I’m thankful that God didn’t let me die in my sin—my idolatry. I look back on that season, and I see a woman who was lost and didn’t even know she was lost. How terrifying! But thank God for Jesus! Because when everything I thought I wanted fell away, He was still there. He heard my cry for help, for forgiveness, for redemption, and not only did He answer me, He saved me. He revealed Himself to me and showed me that no matter what I achieve and obtain in this world, nothing rivals Him, for He is the best thing.

I’m reminded of the story of Peter in the Gospel of Luke. Peter, also known as Simon, son of Jonah, was a fisherman in Capernaum. He and his brother, Andrew, were in partnership with James and John, the sons of Zebedee. One day, while walking by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus climbed into Peter’s boat and told him to pull out from the land so He could teach the multitudes that were following Him (Luke 5:1-3). After He had finished speaking, He said to Peter: “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4). Peter was reluctant and said to Jesus: “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net” (Luke 5:5).

Haven’t we all done what Peter did? Well, I’ll speak for myself, I have! I have told God on several occasions what He already knew. I’ve also begrudgingly did what He wanted me to do although it didn’t make sense. It’s a wonderful thing that Peter decided to do the same thing. He bypassed his reasoning and reluctance and did as Jesus asked.

Scripture tells us that Peter let down his net and caught such a great number of fish that the net started breaking. He had to signal for his partners to bring out another boat to help him. They filled both boats with so many fish that the boats began to sink (Luke 5:6-7).

Can I interject here, just for a second? When the Lord tells you to do something, do it. The first time. You will never know what’s on the other side of your obedience if you never do it. I’m sure Peter had no idea that on the other side of his obedience was him becoming one of the first disciples of Jesus Christ, the rock that Christ built His church on, and catching more fish than he probably had ever caught at one time.

Please note that the aforementioned admonishment was more so for me than you. I know that if you are reading this, you are never slow to obedience, but quick to do everything the Lord commands you to do. Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

When Peter saw what happened, he fell down at Jesus’s knees, saying: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:5). From that time forward, Peter and his business partners forsook all that they knew and followed Jesus. Can I offer for your consideration, that Peter left everything he knew without hesitation because he knew that he had found the best thing—and it wasn’t the fish! He had found the Messiah. The Savior of the world! Even before Paul declared it in Acts 17:28, Peter knew that in Jesus he lived, moved, and had his entire being. He wasn’t concerned about merely getting more fish, because he was following the One who the fish obeyed. He knew anything he needed, the Lord would provide. It is one of the only plausible explanations for why a Jewish man, with a family to support, would leave his life as a fisherman to follow Jesus with no promise of success or sustenance.

However, to be fair, sometimes there aren’t any plausible explanations. Faith makes a fool of what makes sense. When one has an encounter with the King of heaven and earth, and He calls you by name and tells you to follow Him, you follow Him—to highest mountain or the deepest valley because out of everything that you have tasted, you know that He is the best thing. It happened to Peter and it happened to me.

Although my journey with the Lord is still unfolding, He has promised me amazing things—things I would have never asked for, thought about, or even imagined. However, as I wait for the manifestation of those promises, I keep my heart, affections, and focus on Jesus. And when the enemy comes, attempting to deceive me into believing my life would be better if I had those things, I rebuke him and remind myself that no matter what I achieve or obtain in this world, I already have the best thing: Jesus!