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Let Down Your Nets
Galatians 6:9 -- And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Church, are you tired? Are you growing weary? Does it feel like you aren’t getting anywhere? You show up faithfully service after service. You volunteer for every work day, bake sale, youth event, fellowship dinner, food drive or whatever program the church is sponsoring. You work in your calling, whether it is teaching, ministering, greeting, cleaning, singing, preaching, but it seems all you are doing is maintaining the status quo instead of seeing lives changed. Do you feel like you are doing everything you possibly can to contribute the work of God, but it has become exhausting? Are you ready to give up and let someone else deal with it?
Don’t lose heart. You are in the right place for God to use you now.
Simon, who later was called Peter, was a fisherman. It was how he made his living, which means he was no doubt very knowledgeable about fishing. He would have known when was the best time of the day or night to fish, where the best places were, what techniques worked best and how things like weather had an affect. One day after a long and unprofitable night of fishing, he and his crew were washing their nets in preparation for the next night when Jesus came along. A large crowd was following Him and listening to the word of God. Jesus got on Simon’s boat and asked if he could put it out a little from shore. The people stood along the shore and listened to Jesus teach from the boat. Surely Simon was listening also, and he had to be a little surprised at what Jesus asked him to do next.
Luke 5:4-5 -- When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
Simon, the expert fisherman, had brought all he had to his fishing that night – all his knowledge of fishing, all his experience in fishing, all his tools for fishing, all his workers for fishing, all his determination for fishing, all his love for fishing – and yet he had not caught a single fish. Not a nibble. Not even a minnow. He had put in all that he had and came up with nothing. And now, Jesus was telling him to go back out and let down the nets. Likely, he was tired after working all night and probably a little discouraged by his failure, but something about Jesus made him do it. I can almost hear him rolling his eyes (if you have a teenager, you know what I mean by that). “I know all there is to know about fishing and we didn’t catch anything last night, and the middle of the day is probably the worst time to try to catch fish, but ok, I have such great respect for you that I am willing to do that for you.” (That’s my interpretation of Simon’s response in his head; you may think otherwise.)
Luke 5:6-10 -- When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Much to his amazement, Simon not only caught fish, but he caught more than he could even handle. He had to call for his partners in the other boat to come out and help them. Both boats came back so fully loaded with fish that they were nearly sinking from the weight. It humbled Peter so much that he felt unworthy to be in the presence of Jesus. He admitted he was a sinful man, full of pride and self-reliance. But Jesus told Simon not to be afraid because now he would be a fisher of people. It was when Simon was tired and all his knowledge and expertise and self-reliance could no longer help him that he learned to fully rely on Jesus.
Corinthians 12:9-10 -- And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Like Simon, we often approach what needs done by first applying our knowledge and experience to the task at hand. We research, study, plan. We put in the time, sweat, tears and energy. All those things are needed, but we need one more thing to make it all work: Jesus. We need the direction of the Master, not the direction of man. Tradition has dictated how the church operates for too long. God likes to do a new thing and we have to open to that. He wants us to use our knowledge and experience and talents…after all He is the one who gave them to us. But He doesn’t want us to leave Him out of the equation. He wants us to seek Him for direction. Like the good Father that He is, he wants to teach us and show us how. He wants us to let go of the controls and rest in His guidance… to operate in the will of God. If we will decrease, He will increase.
Isaiah 40:31 -- But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
We all have a role in the church and each is important. In addition, we are all called to be fishers of men and women. I believe that if we wait upon the Lord, if we follow His direction, our catch will be so great that like Simon, we will have to call our partners to come and help us. We should be working in cooperation with other churches, not in competition. There are enough unsaved people to fill every church in our community.
So, I ask again. Are you tired? Are you ready for a change in the status quo? Whatever job or role you have in the church, you can see change, you can see increase, you can see a difference, if you will just give Jesus the lead. Let the Master direct your steps, to show you a better way to fish -- to show you when and where to let down your nets.