“When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, let down your 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.”
- Luke 5:4-5
A number of years ago I enjoyed buying old camper trailers and fixing them up. I would haul home some pretty rough looking campers, park them in my driveway and begin the laborious process of bringing them back to life. My neighbour asked me one day why after working all day, I would want to come home and work on these campers. I thought about it for a minute and finally said, “the reason I like working on the campers is that all day I deal with people’s problems that seem to take a long time to show any progress but when I work on a camper I can see an immediate result from my labour.”
I think Peter must have felt somewhat deflated after working hard all night, endlessly casting his nets into the sea and hauling them up empty. It must have been frustrating to get to the end of his shift with nothing to show for his labour and even more frustrating to have an “armchair fisherman” say, “put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” You can almost feel the frustration in his voice as he says, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything……” It wasn’t for lack of effort they had been unsuccessful. They had done all of the things they were supposed to do to catch fish but had been shut out. Nothing had worked. They were defeated and wanted nothing more than to clean their nets and go home but whether it was something in Jesus’ sermon a little earlier, the tone of his voice or if Peter simply didn’t have the energy for a confrontation he continued on to say, “but because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
We know the rest of the story, when they let down the nets this time they were so full of fish that the boats began to sink. With much less effort than they had previously expended, they were much more successful in their task.
What was the difference? It was the same sea, the same boat, the same fishermen and the same nets but the results were incomparable. Of course, the one thing that was different was the presence of Jesus and obedience to his direction. In this early encounter the disciples learned that when you walk with Jesus, amazing things can happen and those things are not dependant upon their efforts but is a dance between human labour done in the presence of the eternal God.
The same is true today. For some reason, God continues to use people to accomplish his will. We have a significant part to play in bringing about the will of God in this world but effort alone will not bring about the desired results. To achieve God’s purposes requires our effort and Jesus’ presence. If we try to do it on our own, our nets will come up empty but with Jesus – all things are possible.
Area Commander Prairie West/ Emergency and Disaster Services Director