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May 30th, 2019
Worn Out, Failed, Don’t Ask
Luke 5.1-11- Simon Peter's story.
It's a day where I am a failure. A day where I'm worn out. A day where I feel like I need to explain myself.
My friend shows up and asks me to do something that I do not want to do. He's not just a friend, but I respect him as a wise man. I know he is a prophet and is God's awaited Messiah.
I just want to pack it in for the day. I wanted to be home hours ago. But I'm a fisherman; I don't give up easily. I pushed my deck-mates all night. I'm cleaning my nets and have them laid out to dry. It's a good time for an ice-cold beer. Yeah, it's one of THOSE days! We've all experienced them
He asks me for a 'friend favor'.
'Let me use your boat'. I think he saw the look on my face. I'm thinking, 'Use my Boat?' He's not a fisherman. The nets are laid out to dry. So, I must look somewhat perplexed at this foolish request.
He explains that he wants it so he can be heard by the crowds that are surrounding both of us. He's asking me to shove off from the shore and anchor so he can be heard as he teaches. Umm, why not? The nets we used are still drying. My old nets are in the boat, but he has plenty of room to sit and talk. My day couldn't get any worse and he may inspire me. I call over a couple of my deck mates and we shove off and anchor offshore. I'm not in the best frame of mind but he doesn't need to know that...
He sat and taught. I was drowsy from the long night, but I could see my nets on the shore were now dry. I'm ready to pull back to shore and pack them up for tomorrow night's fishing. As soon as he finishes, I'll head back.
I listen to him half-heartedly as he wraps up his teaching. I hear people asking questions and urging him to continue. Thankfully, he's done, and he looks at me. Yes! I can wrap up this long failure of a work night. The sun is starting to heat up the early day.
The next thing out of his mouth is so ridiculous that I was almost speechless! (If know me at all, I'm rarely without an opinion to share)
'Did you say row into deeper water... Pull out my old nets and go fishing with them? You don't know fishing; I was at it all night and caught nada! You're telling me that my nets will be loaded with fish, in this daylight?' (He heard some Yiddish that needed no explanation)
The ONLY reason I made the effort was because of my respect for him. I wouldn't do it if anyone else had asked me. So, we did it
My deck mates are astounded, I'm astounded! Our nets are too full to pull in without tearing them apart! These old nets had never captured so many fish before. We are all yelling for help. My fellow fishermen launch their boats and help us bring in the catch. We were all almost swamped by the haul! There's almost two weeks’ worth of fish in them!
I learned a valuable lesson that day. Jesus heard what I said but he didn't respond to my complaining. He insisted that we follow through on what he asked of us by simply waiting for us to quit our whining and do what he asked. It was not logical to fish then. It made no sense to experienced fishermen. We did what he said but our hearts were not in it. In doing so, we experienced a miraculous provision.
Look at the personal change that came from this... When I was done, I fell at Jesus' feet and said: 'Go away from me because I am so sinful!' I was overwhelmed with shame.
He didn't respond to my failed day with ridicule or condemnation.
He simply expected me to trust him.
Trust with directed action applied to that trust.
Go out, let down nets, and experience a different result.
You've heard it said that the definition of insanity is 'doing the same thing and expecting different results'. Is Jesus insane?! No! My difficult act of following, being obedient, after a crappy day, produced an amazing result. So amazing that I felt exposed in my sinfulness and fell at Jesus' feet.
I can't even count how many crappy days I've experienced in life. The season that I had walking through recovery had many days like that. Completely failed days. Many days where I worked diligently only to fail.
I failed many times just trying to be a husband and a dad. As both an employee and as a business owner I've as those 'failed and worn out' days.
The one constant though is that Jesus would ask for my boat. I think of my life as my boat. My little boat is where He has sat many times. The result was the ability to hear his instructions again. Even when my attitude sucked. He didn't address my attitude. He insisted that I row into deep waters and toss out my nets.
I learned to respond because of who he is, not who I thought I was at the time. This led to days when my nets went deep and I experienced a boatload of recovery. Or a boatload of understanding on how to be a husband or dad.
(many times, this happened after I had just done the exact same disciplines/work that produced no results at all)
I had to call others in to help me pull the nets so that I could pull the deepest recovery into my life. I began to really understand how important it is to have others in my life. Those that would help me haul in the bounty and share in life change. Yes, I understand why Simon Peter would fall at Jesus' feet. Sometimes the results of Jesus provision undid me, in a good way, and sacred times of repentance took place.
Look what happened when a contrite Simon Peter was at Jesus' feet Jesus spoke about what Peter was to do, 'You will not yield to fear. From now on you will catch men for salvation.' This was the day Simon Peter followed his lifetime call.
The result I’ve seen in my life when Jesus is in my little boat is this;
I hear the One who had a hand in knitting me together in the womb. He is speaking my identity, my true, full-of-purpose identity, into my life again. This turns a day of crappy failure into a day of unexpected life change. That life change leads to leaving the old life behind and fully living out my identity in a wild, sometimes crazy life that finds freedom in following Him. I find my fearless 'Simon Peter part of me' and fully life out of who I fully am!
This is a story for many.
For the ones who have crappy days.
For those of us who are worn out.
Have those, 'Don't even ask!' days.
Jesus will seemingly ask you to do something ridiculous.
It turns into an encounter that changes everything.
Have you experienced any Simon Peter type of encounters?
What did it look like?
What was the outcome?
What was/were the 'aha' moments?
I'd love to hear your story.
If you want an encounter that indelibly changes your life with purpose, identity, and value, tell me about it. The One who hand-crafted you with intentional purpose, honor, worth wants to encounter you. Just as you are. He is the prototype for the image bearer you are.
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