Let Down the Nets

And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”  Luke 5:5

We all sometimes come face to face with failure no matter how hard we try. When kids were picking teams to play baseball in my neighborhood I was always the last to get picked and usually was made pitcher because I couldn’t hit, run or catch.

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Maybe you are struggling in your marriage is struggling or you are just weeks away from bankruptcy. Like Peter whatever you are facing, remember that Jesus didn’t come to choose the best fishermen, fathers, mothers or business men and women. Jesus came to pick people who have worked all night with nothing to show for their efforts. in fact Jesus is not asking for us to just try harder. He calls us to simply believe and obey His word!  When Peter did what Jesus asked his once empty nets became so full that he needed his friends’ help to pull them in. But Jesus doesn’t stop with simply filling our nets with fish. He has an astonishing adventure in mind far beyond just immediate blessings. If we follow Jesus we will be amazed at where that journey leads; but everything hinges on being willing to let down those nets at His word!

And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him Luke 5:11

Launching Out Again

And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”  Luke 5:5

My grandfather was the captain of a destroyer during the war and long after retirement he remained firmly in command of the ship at home. Though we loved him dearly, we grandchildren learned to respond quickly whenever He barked “All hands on deck!” when it was time for chores; or “No excuses sir!” if we got caught doing something wrong. But one of his favorite sayings happened when we made excuses. He would pause with a smile, then point his finger directly at whoever was the excuse maker and say; “No if’s and’s or but’s”

Maybe Peter had a grandfather a lot like mine, because when Jesus asked him to go back out into deeper water to throw his net out again he simply obeyed. When Peter said, “I will let down my nets” he knew that meant that he would need to load them back in the boat, then call his brother and some of his friends and go back out after having worked all night. Last of all he had to throw the heavy, water soaked net back into the water with the possibility that it would just come back in empty again. It would have been a lot easier to say, “I’m so tired Jesus, why not ask John or James?” But none of those excuses kept Peter from obeying Jesus. He trusted what Jesus said by a faith he probably didn’t yet fully understand and launched out.

When God calls me or you to launch out with him we often have plenty of if’s and’s or but’s. “If you first give me this Lord, then I’ll be happy to obey.” or “And what about my sister, why can’t she do it this time?” or even “But Lord you know I always mess this up!” But God did not call someone else. He is not interested in a faster or more efficient way of getting things done. What He cares about is teaching us to trust Him. So instead of wasting time with our “if’s and’s or but’s ; why not just load up our nets, and launch out into the deep? Until we let down our nets we’ll never know what God can do to fill them!

Jesus Knows How to Fish

The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.  John 21: 8-9 NIV

I could have made the title a bit longer and added, Jesus knows how to fish and I don’t. Funny thing because my son who I taught to fish can cast farther and catch more but the disciples’ night fishing was about like mine would have been: a still one big fat zero!  Can’t you almost picture them throwing out their nets and pulling them in all night wondering why they are empty? Yet at the same time, Jesus was catching fish! By the time the disciples got back to shore with nothing, Jesus had already started a fire and started cooking the fish He had caught.

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But the good news for us as well as Peter James and John is that Jesus is still waiting for us. He is waiting for us to give up and bring our boat back to shore. He is waiting for us to be ready to listen to Him. He is waiting for us to recognize His voice. Fishing without praying is just feeding the fish. Fishing longer won’t help. Often just giving up is the first step back to Jesus. He is standing on the shore. He has been working all through our night and He’ll have everything ready when we arrive!