Cast into the deep
1 It happened that he was standing by the lake of Genesareth, at a time when the multitude was pressing close about him to hear the word of God; 2 and he saw two boats moored at the edge of the lake; the fishermen had gone ashore, and were washing their nets. 3 And he went on board one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, and asked him to stand off a little from the land; and so, sitting down, he began to teach the multitudes from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Stand out into the deep water, and let down your nets for a catch”. 5 Simon answered him, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and caught nothing; but at thy word I will let down the net”.
All day you’ve been out in your boat, sun beating down on your back, the salty spray stinging your face, and the cold water splashing up against you. You’ve fought the waves and the currents, you’ve sent your net and pulled it back in and nothing, nothing, nothing. A full day of work and nothing to show for it. Your companions are disappointed and discouraged, you are tired and defeated. You step back onto the shore and begin the tedious work of untangling your nets, gently patching the holes and tears, carefully dislodging seaweed and sticks, and, finally, folding it up for a new day tomorrow.
You had all the tools, all the skills, all the knowledge, the perfect conditions, but no catch.
You notice a crowd approaching the shore and that a single man seems to be leading them. As the people are herded onto the beach, the man reaches the edge of the sea and notices that he is running out of dry land. He gets into your boat and asks you to cast off a ways. Limbs still aching for a full day of work you push the boat back into the waves. It is then that he begins speaking to the crowd.
After speaking, he turns to you and tells you to go back out into the deep water and let your nets down. You are tired from a full day of work, your heart is weary from many failed attempts. The idea of dirtying the nets again weighs on your mind and the fear of more failure causes you to hesitate. But the words he spoke to the crowd are in your mind, and you respond in half-hearted faith.
What is your “failed day of fishing”? After many attempts, perhaps in Bible study attendance, working hard in class, in reaching out to that one friend, in trying to have a difficult conversation with a co-worker or friend, in patching up a damaged relationship, a failed Lenten sacrifice, or maybe fully investing in prayer, what is it that you want to just pack up and leave for later?
You have all the tools, you have the skills, objectively, you have everything you need just like Simon did in order to fish.
Why is Jesus in your boat? What is your second fishing attempt? Do you have faith in how the story ends? Will you leave you allow me to make you a fisher of men? Simon is called away from his profession, from what he had always known, from his “normal”? Do we allow Jesus to call us away from where we are? Do we allow Jesus to surpass our wildest dreams?
Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.