In Luke 5, Jesus is sitting in a fisherman’s boat teaching a group of people. It is the very beginning of his public ministry.
From the boat, he calls out to the fisherman Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
Simon replies, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.”
These fishermen were used to fishing at night. Dipping one’s nets in the middle of the day probably seemed crazy and a huge waste of time.
However, even in his reluctance, Simon obeys this command of Jesus.
If you’ve read the gospels before, you are familiar with Simon. Jesus will go on to rename him Peter. Naming people and renaming them is a big deal in the Bible.
Just for this moment, let’s wipe away everything we know or have heard about Simon.
Imagine what it was like standing in Simon’s shoes that day.
Here’s a rabbi with whom he has no relationship. Just a rabbi sitting in one of his fishing boats teaching a crowd of people. It would have been effortless to slip into pride mode and say, “Listen, Rabbi, I know you know a lot of things, but what could you possibly know about fishing?”
Simon doesn’t know about miracles yet. Simon doesn’t know about immense faith yet. Simon knows, like really knows fish, and that he didn’t catch any the night before.
What I imagine is probably very reluctantly, Simon lets down his nets, and a huge load of fish comes crashing into the nets.
So. Many. Fish.
Simon is so overwhelmed that he fully loses his mind, falls to his knees, and declares his unworthiness to Jesus.
Let’s look a bit closer at Simon’s first reaction: “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.”
I fully get Simon. I’m with Simon. I am Simon. We don’t know from the scripture what kind of tone he had, but I imagine it was one of exhaustion. Imagine a night of working with nothing to show for yourself- no catch to reel in. No business for that day.
If we are being honest, many of us have been exactly there- a place where we are tired and broken down. A place where we are spinning all our wheels, and nothing seems to be working or moving.
We’ve tried everything in our efforts, and yes, we’ve even cried out to God. But still, we are tempted to say, “Are you even here, God? Do you even see me?”
What Simon is doing here is already assuming/ anticipating the outcome.
Based on past experiences, he is discounting what can happen in the present moment. Based on what didn’t go right before, he’s casting a shadow on what could go right in this present moment.
I’m very guilty of that. I’m guilty of placing a negative attitude on my circumstances or not trusting God because of how I’ve failed or fallen in the past. I’m guilty of not relying on his strength because I think I can handle things independently.
Do you believe that God can do something bigger than you can? Are you assuming the result because you’ve been let down before?
I’ve had to use this passage to re-posture my mind and spirit repeatedly.
In my work. With my relationships.
Am I going off past experiences, or do I believe God can do something new this time? Am I trusting in myself, or am I trusting in him?
There is great power in simple obedience, in saying, “Yes, okay I will try again.”
Yes, I will take my little mustard seeds of faith and believe that God has something for me.
Yes, I will shift away from needing to be the hero in my story and let God be as big as He wants. I’ll let him take every ounce of glory because I don’t need it.
Yes, I will keep showing up and trying the next thing.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
What would have happened if Simon hadn’t let down his nets?
A domino of things: he wouldn’t have witnessed the miracle. He might not have chosen to follow Jesus. His whole life might have been different.
What are we missing out on when we hold tight to our nets because we think we are in control of what happens next?
Pray with us today:
God, show us how good it can get
Because we know it can be so much better than we think or imagine.
We don’t want to miss out on a more abundant and rich life than we’ve even planned for ourselves.
What if there’s so much more waiting for us at the end of our nets?
Don’t miss it.
Let Him show you how good it can get.