“Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” (Luke 5:5)
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably uttered these words at least once in your lifetime: “Because I said so, that’s why!” This phrase is usually spoken in a tone of impatience, disgust, or even contempt. After all, that we even needed to employ those words in the first place means that someone doesn’t trust us; they don’t see us as an authority worthy of respect, and we feel inclined to point out that the very fact that we told them to do something ought to be reason enough for obedience.
Simon, James, and John weren’t just a group of fishing buddies out throwing some casts and knocking back a few beers on a lazy Saturday; they were professional fishermen who spent nearly every day of their lives on the lake, trying to make a living. They undoubtedly knew the times, locations, and tactics used to catch fish better than anyone, and they also knew where the fish simply weren’t going to be. These guys were experts.
So when some carpenter comes along and starts giving them advice, it probably would have been easy to get somewhat miffed. They’re tired from working hard all night long and probably a little crabby at the fact that they have nothing to show for all their effort. Now some layman wants to come along and tell them how to do their job? Most of us probably would have said, “Get lost, buddy!”
But Simon Peter catches himself as he starts to point out the obvious facts to Jesus. He recognizes Jesus’ authority, even if it doesn’t seem to have any logical bearing on the present situation. He announces, “Because YOU say so, I will let down the nets.”
We tend to think that we’re experts on a lot of things, even matters of spirit and ministry. We know all the “right” ways to witness, all the best “fishing holes” for finding hearts with fertile soil for the Gospel seed, and just the right times to “let down our nets” and let the Gospel do its work. But sometimes God calls us to cast out the net of His Word in situations that really don’t seem all that promising. We look at the deep waters of a thoroughly secular society or a firmly atheistic acquaintance and say, “God, there’s nothing in there to catch. I’ve worked all through the night in some of the ripest fields, trying to bring Your Word to sinners, and I’m tired of fruitless efforts. Just let me go home and rest, mend my nets, and maybe another day I’ll try that part of the lake.”
Many times, we are called to bring the net of God’s Word to the fish. But just as often, it seems, God asks us to let down the net and let Him bring the fish to us. When we trust His authority and take Him at His Word, we will be amazed as we see the boat of the Church being filled with schools of people coming to faith by miraculous saving grace. So cast away with reckless abandon, throwing your nets into whatever waters God directs you to – because He said so. Even with all your skill and knowledge as a fisher of men, you will still get skunked every time without the Spirit’s help. Let the One who created the lake and everything in it guide you to today’s catch!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Prayer: Lord God, guide me in my ministry today. Give me the faith to heed Your calling and proclaim Your Word wherever You direct me to do so. Give me the courage to let down the net of Your Word, even in the deepest and darkest of waters. Bring the multitude of those who do not know You safely into the boat of Your church, unto life everlasting; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen.