Have you ever started something and then after a while nothing you did seemed to be working? Maybe you tried launching a brand new business. Maybe you quit your old job and set out to start a brand new career. Maybe you went back to school to better your education. Maybe it’s your marriage. Or maybe it’s your finances. What do you do?
There is a story in Luke 5 that I believe, if we dissect it carefully enough, we will find the answer to this question. Here is what Luke writes:
On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. (Luke 5:1-7 ESV)
First thing we observe here is Simon, who we know now as Peter, had to let Jesus into his boat. A lot of times we set out to launch a business, start a new career, or make a financial investment, and at first everything is going great, but after a while we start to catch nothing. We had so much faith in God to begin with, but then once we started to have a little success, we let Jesus out of our boat. We started to try to do everything on our own strength. We began to try to do everything in our own wisdom. And just like Simon “we toiled all night and took nothing.” Paul tells us that we can do all things through Jesus. (See Philippians 4:13) Not in our own strength. Not in our own wisdom. So let me ask you, is Jesus in your boat? If He isn’t, then go back to the place where you left Him and let Him back in.
The second thing we see is that Simon had to let go of his pride. Jesus, who is a carpenter by trade, is telling Simon, who is a fisherman, how to fish. Simon is the professional here. He is the one that has made a living fishing. Simon probably said something like this in his head “Who is this Jesus, a carpenter, think He is trying to tell me how to fish?” We see the pride issue at first when he exclaims “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing!” But Simon was willing to let go of his pride and let down his nets again. Solomon tells us that pride comes before a fall. (See Proverbs 16:18) Later in the New Testament James writes that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (See James 4:6) So is there a pride issue that needs to be addressed in your life? If so let it go because you are just going to find yourself wrestling with God and wind up catching nothing.
The last thing we pull from this text is that Simon was obedient to the word of God. After letting Jesus into his boat and letting go of his pride, look at what Simon says “But at your word I will let down the nets.” I don’t know what this looks like for you. Maybe it’s “Jesus I’m too old to go back to college to further my education. But at your word I will let down the nets.” Maybe it’s “Jesus I don’t think I can stay in this marriage any longer. But at your word I will let down the nets.” Maybe it’s “Jesus I can’t quit my job to start another career. But at your word I will let down the nets.” Or Maybe it’s “Jesus I’ve done everything I know to do and nothing seems to be working. But at your word I will let down the nets.”
Let Jesus back into your boat, let go of your pride, and be obedient to His word; and see if you don’t catch so many blessings that your nets won’t be able to hold them. Cast your nets!