Before You Say, "I Quit!"
- Thursday, September 16, 2010
Here enters Jesus, who asks even more of him. Will you look with me at this true account recorded in Luke 5:1-5?
And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, and saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing . . . .
Peter is tired, he's in the middle of washing his nets, and Jesus asks him to come and launch the boat out for Him—with him in it. If I were Peter I would have thought: "Well, that's all my boat seems to be good for right now—holding a teacher of the Word of God. It sure is not holding anything else of value these days."
Do your toils and struggles in this life cause you to feel like you can't hold anything of value? Jesus asks even more of you: push away from the crowd and listen to Him speak for a while. And, whether or not you feel like you are doing anything of value, you will be holding Someone of value out for others to see. Even in your weariness, Jesus can walk into the boat of your life and speak the words of God to you and to the people around you.
After Jesus speaks to the crowd in Peter's boat, He asks Peter to take the boat out deeper and go fishing—again. Peter is a professional fisherman who knows his craft, and his craft tells him there's nothing out there—absolutely nothing to go back for or toil for or start all over again for. Everything in him says it will be a useless waste of his tired time. Jesus asks him to go out to the deep and try it all over again. Was He kidding? Did He realize how much work he had done and that he had cleaned the nets already? Do it again? That meant more backbreaking work, more hours of labor with a less than willing body, more time having to clean those same nets that faced him every day . . . yet, after hearing Jesus teach "the word of God," this was Peter's response: " . . . Nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net."
Even though Peter didn't understand Jesus' command, nor did he even really understand Jesus' Godhood, Peter obeyed, and the outcome was completely different than what he expected. When Peter was fishing for himself, he came up wanting. When he did it for Jesus out of obedience, he came up overflowing with what his heart desired: his toil was finally productive.
Obedience to the Word of God brings an outcome we could not have imagined. Obeying even when it doesn't make sense. Obeying even when we are tired and overwhelmed. Maybe we are mad, upset, hurting, spent, and at the end of ourselves. "Nevertheless at thy word I will . . . . " Trusting God's provision and providence overrides our common sense. Our logic seems to fail where God's providence directs us to the place of His provision. Here's how it looked for Peter and those around him:
And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net broke. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. (Luke 5:6-7)
I am thinking that maybe—just maybe—Peter didn't mind the extra work of mending those now broken nets. Peter and his partners were incredibly amazed to see that Jesus knew what He spoke of; He was even the Master of their craft. They had not only seen provision; they also had seen the Provider. But here is the key: Peter didn't see Who Jesus really was until he stepped out in obedience to His words.
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