On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets." And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. — Lk 5:1-11
I've mentioned before, but I can be pretty strong-willed, and I do not like people interfering in my life, or telling me what to do. It's making me laugh to see God continually bringing it to the surface for me in this study of Simon Peter's life, and what it means to have God cultivate faithfulness in us-- because I think that's a huge part of being both faithful and full of faith, letting your life be dictated by God, even when we can't see the future, don't trust the plan, or want to see it all scoped out.
I see myself so much in Simon Peter in this text. Jesus is already interfering with his life-- his livelihood-- but taking over his boat. Sure, he's mending his net on the shore-- but even if he wanted to go back out, now his boat's tied up with Jesus preaching to the crowd of people. Jesus interferes with our daily life. He asks us to give up our most valuable assets--time, resources, money, giftings-- for His glory and His purposes. A friend and I were talking about evangelism yesterday, and he said, "you know, the hardest thing about it is the valuable commodity I have to give up for other people: my time." I see Simon Peter's situation and I think, "gosh, I could be using this time to pursue my career, or make a living, and now my livelihood is tied up with Jesus' agenda, and it means I'm going to have less, do less, be less."
I wish I could adequately share with you just how real that sentence is in my life right now. When I think about letting Jesus truly interfere in my life, all I can think about is the things I am going to have to give up for His glory and His gospel. If I'm truly faithful to Jesus' call of "Follow Me", then He's going to interfere in my life, and I take that interference as loss. He's using my boat, so I can't do what I want or need to do for my life.
But he doesn't just borrow the boat-- He is then trying to show Simon Peter his power by telling him how to do his job. "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon Peter puts up a little bit of a fight (although my study notes in my Bible want me to inform you that He is not being disrespectful, because he still calls him Master): “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing!" Jesus, I know how to do my job. This is my area of expertise. I know how to run my life. It's mine, after all. First he's invading his schedule, and now he's giving job advice. He's interfering with Peter's life.
But an enormous part of being both faithful and full of faith is letting Jesus interfere and tell us how to live our lives, even when it doesn't make sense. It's trusting that Jesus knows something that we don't, he sees something we cannot. "But at your word I will let down the nets."
And what will Jesus do when we trust Him? He shows us His goodness and His power in ways we cannot imagine. But more on that tomorrow!
Dear God, I confess that I am so often, too often, actively fight your interference in my life. I don't want to sacrifice my time, resources, money, or relationships for your plan. But if I'm going to follow you-- I have to let you interfere. And I know that you and your plans are so much better than anything I can imagine. Interfere, and have your way, so that my my own plans fall to the wayside as I learn to be your disciple. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Dig Deeper: Have you avoided letting Jesus interfere in your life? What holds you back from that interference? What's it going to take to let him interfere?