Monday, February 27, 2012

Doing things that don't make sense...

Sometimes God asks us to do things that don't make sense.

In Luke, chapter 5, we read about a time when Jesus was standing beside a lake and crowds of people were pressing in on him, because they wanted to hear the word of God. Jesus saw two boats there at the shore of the lake. The fisherman were not in the boats, they were washing their nets. So Jesus got into one of the boats (the one belonging to Simon Peter), and asked him to pull out a bit from the shore. From there, Jesus sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he finished, he told Simon Peter to go out to the deep water and put his nets in for a catch. Simon Peter was tired. He'd been fishing all night and hadn't caught anything. He told Jesus this but then said, "If you say so, I will let down the nets."

Simon Peter was a fisherman. He understood his trade. He'd worked all night. He wanted to rinse his nets and call it a night. But Jesus. Jesus wanted to bless him. Jesus wanted Simon Peter to trust him and to obey him. We're so often like Peter. We get up, go to work, do our job, come home. Get up, go to work, do our job, come home. We work hard. We become masters in our trade. And everyday, we get up, go to work, do our job, come home. But Jesus. Jesus wants to bless us. Jesus wants us to trust him and to obey him. Even when it doesn't make sense.

We must trust again and again and again. And, when we do, we can be surprised and thankful and amazed at how God always provides more than we can ask for or imagine.

So, Simon Peter did what Jesus asked. And when he did, he caught so many fish that the nets were beginning to break. They had to signal their partners in the other boat to come help them. And they filled both boats with much so that the boats began to sink! Simon Peter and his partners, James & John, and all who were with him were amazed at the catch. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!"

Like Peter, when we do what Jesus asks, and we recognize God's power and providence we feel humbled,completely unworthy and even afraid. The love God pours out to us is overwhelming, but far too often we live our lives simply getting up, going to work, doing our job and coming home. We spend our lives missing God's love. ...even pushing God away.

Jesus responded to Peter by saying, "Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching people."

Peter says, "Go away!" and Jesus responds, "Don't be afraid." Peter says, "I'm a sinful man!" And Jesus responds, "Soon you will be catching people."

At the beginning of the story, Jesus tells Simon Peter to do something that doesn't make sense. Peter does it and is overwhelmed by God's provision. Then at the end of the story, Jesus tells Simon Peter that he's going to do something soon, something that also doesn't make sense. (How does one catch people?) Jesus sees in Simon Peter something that Simon Peter does not see in himself. Jesus calls Peter to break the cycle. To do more. To be more. To write a different story.

Jesus is asking us to write a different story too. A story of courage, trust, obedience and hope. When we do, we too, will understand and live our purpose. Soon.

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