When he [Jesus] finished teaching, he said to Simon, â€œPush out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch.â€
Simon said, â€œMaster, weâ€™ve been fishing hard all night and havenâ€™t caught even a minnow. But if you say so, Iâ€™ll let out the nets.â€ Luke 5:4-5 (The Message)
I am reading through the gospel of Luke right now. Generally that means I read a chapter a day and spend time thinking about what I have read. This chapter is just full of â€œgood stuffâ€. Many may find the inconsistencies in the gospels troubling. Details do not mesh; timelines are different. I have always been comfortable with the idea that if four people saw a wreck or public incident and were asked to write down what they saw and heard, the four stories would have differences. They might reflect the character of the storyteller, the way they look at life in general.
Jesus’ life must have been full and busy. He had only three years to do all that was recorded and then there were all the private teachings, sleeping, and His â€œsolitary time.â€
This particular chapter begins with Jesus teaching around the Sea of Galilee, which would have been a busy place on any given day as people came there to buy food and travel across the water to other towns. In what seems to be a physical move to get some space from the crowd in order to teach, Jesus also prepares to call the first of that inner circle of disciples. He makes that call through an act that will be in a familiar setting, doing familiar work, and then suddenly the identity of the One who is with them is revealed to be much more than just a learned teacher.
Yesterday I felt God telling me to speak to someone. Now those who know me, even if you know me only through these devotions, would think that using words would be a fairly comfortable act for me. I do it a lot! But often I find myself sharing with someone and I walk away second guessing myself and seeing no â€œgoodâ€ has come from the conversation. And so yesterday I hesitated.
Peter, a long time fisherman, knew the best time to fish was early in the morning before the sun is up and so now he is done for the day and without any success. Then this teacher tells him to take his clean nets and throw them back into the sea again â€“ there are fish to be caught! Yeah. Right.
How often do we hesitate or just simply ignore or refuse a request from our LORD? Jesus shows us by the example of His life and the mission He was called to do that it’s all about obedience and not about seeing the end result. Jesus taught these twelve people, poured Himself into them for three years, and then told them to go on and teach others. And their time wasn’t very long either as persecution came quickly and soon there was only John left. And yet, God’s plan has prevailed because His example and His Spirit give us the courage to continue even when we haven’t â€œcaught a minnowâ€ in our past but because He says â€œGoâ€ or â€œDoâ€, we obey.
â€œDon’t be afraid…â€ Jesus said. So they pulled their boats on to shore and left everything to follow Jesus. Luke 5:10-11 (my paraphrase)
I need to hear Jesus tell me over and over, â€œDon’t be afraid, Jody.â€ It’s what will make me hesitate less, speak with courage, and leave the end results in His hands where they belong.
I Will Follow Him written by Franck Pourcel and Paul Mauriat (1961), sung by the cast of Sister Act (1992)