Pastor Brian Homan’s Devotion for May 10, 2019

Our read­ing for Fri­day, May 10, 2019 is Luke 5:1–11.

One day as Jesus was stand­ing by the Lake of Gen­nesaret, with the peo­ple crowd­ing around him and lis­ten­ing to the word of God, 2 he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fish­er­men, who were wash­ing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belong­ing to Simon, and asked him to put out a lit­tle from shore. Then he sat down and taught the peo­ple from the boat. 4 When he had fin­ished speak­ing, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 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.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large num­ber of fish that their nets began to break. 7 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. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sin­ful man!” 9 For he and all his com­pan­ions were aston­ished at the catch of fish they had tak­en, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s part­ners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”  11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left every­thing and fol­lowed him.NIV

Two phras­es rise out from the pas­sage for this morn­ing. The first is Peter’s response to Jesus’ request that he put out into the waters of the Sea of Galilee to fish for a sec­ond time. Though the request seemed unrea­son­able since he and his com­pan­ions had already spent the prime time for fish­ing with­out suc­cess, Peter none-the-less con­sent­ed say­ing, “Just because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

How often is it that faith calls upon us to do that which seems con­trary to rea­son? Cer­tain­ly the demands of an active faith call us to actions we con­sid­er uncom­fort­able, but what about when they are unrea­son­able. There is a dif­fer­ence between the two. Addi­tion­al­ly, how can we be cer­tain what we are asked is from God? Now Peter did not have this issue since it was def­i­nite­ly Jesus who asked him to pull out from shore and fish, yet he was not nec­es­sar­i­ly sold upon the idea that Jesus was Lord. Peter refers to Jesus as “Mas­ter,” a des­ig­na­tion of respect toward one in author­i­ty. From what he had heard and seen in Jesus before being called to be his dis­ci­ple this itin­er­ant rab­bi deserved this respect.

Respect is one thing but infal­li­bil­i­ty is anoth­er. Peter knew his job and was cer­tain this was not the time to fish. The like­li­hood of suc­cess when the best oppor­tu­ni­ty had passed though not impos­si­ble was cer­tain­ly high­ly unlike­ly.  The church in Amer­i­ca is in trou­ble. The opin­ions of cul­ture seem to be against us, the lev­el of the­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ence and con­flict is high, and the needs con­fronting the church appear over­whelm­ing. Though these things are true and we may feel it is time to pull out our nets and go home to com­fort our­selves with our indi­vid­ual beliefs this is the time we need to take the risks of doing what is unrea­son­able and reach out bold­ly for Jesus. 

Indi­vid­u­al­ly we may feel vul­ner­a­ble and long for the secu­ri­ty of our soli­tude, how­ev­er, God does not call us to retreat into our shells of com­fort but do that which might be unrea­son­able and invest in people’s lives and in activ­i­ties which unashamed­ly hold out the Gospel. This call is not lim­it­ed to the church but to us as indi­vid­ual fol­low­ers of Jesus. We may feel it is unrea­son­able to sur­ren­der more of our pre­cious time, or finances, or plea­sures to reach out per­son­al­ly to our neigh­bors, build rela­tion­ships and take advan­tage of oppor­tu­ni­ties to share Christ, yet that is what Jesus requests. 

A com­fort­able faith will not cut it. To bear fruit when our cul­ture most obvi­ous­ly needs Christ will demand our going beyond and doing the unrea­son­able. We need to do this just because Jesus says so.  If or when we act on this call we will be shocked by the catch of human­i­ty we may dis­cov­er for Jesus. It is then we will call him “Lord” and face the shame of our sin for not liv­ing bold­ly for Christ. The great reward from our fill­ing the great pur­pose of intro­duc­ing oth­ers to the source of life and health will be worth any risk we can take.  Live large and bold for Jesus!