There’s more to follow, but first, my rendition of Luke 5:1-8:
Jesus was talking to some folks by the Lake of Gennesaret, when, off in the distance he saw two boats near the shoreline. He walked towards the boats while he continued to talk with the small crowd, and when he approached the boats he stepped up into one of them and asked the owner to put out the boat a bit farther from the shore. Then Jesus sat down and continued to teach from it.
Simon, the boat’s owner, did what the man had asked of him and he moved his boat a little further off shore. Simon was stunned that he did what was asked of him, but also confused as to why this stranger decided to use his boat as a park bench. Simon’s countenance shifted from awe and amazement to contempt, and he glared at the man as he was speaking, waiting for the opportune time to question the man. “Who does this guy think he is?” Simon thought to himself, “He comes and sits in my boat, has these people following him…traipsing all over my fishing gear, and then he tells me where to go fishing!”
Simon looked at the man, who was grinning and looking back at him. Jesus wrapped up his discussion then said to the weathered fisherman, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Exhausted from the previous night’s expedition, Simon knew better than this man that it was a terrible time and place to fish, “Master,” said Simon sarcastically, “we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t…caught…anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
With a half-hearted motion to his fellow fishermen, Simon and company let down their nets. After all the nets were cast, Simon looked at Jesus, “There. The nets are out. I hope you’re happy.” Simon folded his arms onto his chest, “Oh, and thanks for wasting my morning. I had plans to go into town and take care of some business, but no, this…” he quickly spread his arms wide, gesturing to the water around him, “…is much more productive.”
As he was lowering his arms in frustration, Simon lost his balance – the nets pulled the boat hard, and the fishermen all shouted with a mix of bewilderment and excitement. There on Lake Gennesaret, Simon and his fellow fishermen caught so many fish that their nets began to break! He was astonished and looked at Jesus who was grinning from ear-to-ear; Simon weaved his way over to Jesus and fell at his feet.
Jesus comes and sits in my boat telling me where I should go and what I should do? I know best!…right? In all honesty, I usually feel like Simon – I see Jesus approaching my life, wondering why he’s hanging out in my boat, and I question his calls for me to act. I question and wonder and second-guess because I see my life through my own eyes – I’ve been living my life and I know what’s best for me.
If Jesus calls me to help someone, I question whether I’m the best one to help; if Jesus calls me to speak with someone, I question whether I’ll have the right words; if Jesus calls me to lead, I point out others who would be much better for the job. My life seems to be a series of occasions when I think that God should have arranged things differently. God should have given me that job, or kept me in that relationship, or provided for me sooner instead of letting me struggle for so long. In those moments I’ve wrestled with God I think I know what’s best for me.
As much as I think I have all the answers – as much as I think I know when it’s best to wash my nets or go fishing – I don’t know much at all. When I turn my vision towards Jesus and trust in his calling, when I believe that he knows me best, then my life can only be the best it can be. I may struggle at times, I may have to learn a few lessons along the way, but Jesus is always there telling me the better way to live.
I can only pray to be less like Simon, and not only have ears to hear God’s voice, but to also have unbound trust in what God is going to do in my life.
much love. sheth.