I woke this morning to a new year and began reading in Luke 5 where Jesus calls the first of his disciples and as I read I couldn’t help but notice his audacity in telling seasoned fishermen, who knew their stuff, but had caught nothing all night, to push their boats back out and give it another try.
Simon frames their response well, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
What Jesus asks seems like foolishness to them. It flies in the face of their many years of experience and does not make any sense. Better to just go home and call it day, maybe wait for the tide to change and come back tomorrow.
Simon kinda makes that point, but then goes on to say ‘but because you say so we’ll give it another crack’. I’m not sure of Simon’s tone in that conversation – was he humouring Jesus? Deferring to him but inwardly believing he was wasting his time?
Clearly they weren’t.
But I’m less interested in the outcome of ‘so many fish that their boats nearly sank’, than I am in Simon’s recognition that Jesus is the one who calls the shots and our role is to listen – to be in a place where we can hear him – and then respond in line with what he asks. The reality is that sometimes Jesus asks us to put the boats back in the water and the result is not a huge haul. But what does matter is that we trust his voice – whether it makes good sense or not.
Its the question I find myself asking men all the time now, ‘What is God saying to you? What is he asking you to do?’ Because if you know that then your opinion, no matter how informed, is not an issue.
Sometimes he will ask you to fall in line with good sense, sometimes he will take you down a back road for no apparent reason. But if we genuinely believe that there is a God who interacts with us – who seeks to guide – then we do well to ask him what he wants of us.
Too much of our thinking is shaped by contemporary wisdom – by what is smart, expedient, financially prudent and so on, but these things aren’t always Jesus concerns.
I’ve been challenged numerous times lately to do things ‘because he says so’ rather than because they are in the best interests of what my culture tells me is important and I imagine its an idea we need to keep continually returning to if we are to live a life of faith rather than a life simply reliant on our own smarts.