A Word of Advice (31-08-20)
Bible Reading: Luke 5:1-8
One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 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. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the 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." When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signalled 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. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!"
Early on in Jesus’ ministry Simon Peter and Andrew returned to the shore after an unsuccessful night’s fishing and Jesus commandeered their boat as a make-shift pulpit from which to preach to a crowd of people. When the sermon was finished Jesus instructed Simon Peter to put out into deep water and to have another go at fishing, whereupon he and Andrew caught so many fish that he had to get help from James and John to bring the catch ashore. Later on these fishermen respond to Jesus’ call to follow him.
How do you respond when someone offers you a word of advice? If it’s about something I struggle with, like my computer not doing what I want it to, then I am quite grateful, but if it is something I thought I was doing well, it can be a bit more difficult to accept.
There are some interesting things going on in our reading, not least the fact that a carpenter is telling a fisherman how to fish! But there are also some helpful parallels for the Church today. The first is that God is interested in the whole of our lives. Jesus asked Simon Peter to surrender his work to him, but in doing so, Jesus blessed him with an amazing catch of fish. God will bless the whole of our lives, spiritually, physically and emotionally, if they are surrendered to him.
God also has something to say about the way we conduct the whole of our lives. When he says ’It’s best to do things this way…’ it is important that we pay attention, and when he says ’ No, not that way’, he has his reasons, reasons that will bless us and bless others.
Like Simon Peter, we might feel as a Church, that we have laboured all night and caught nothing. But God is there to encourage us not to give up, but rather to put out into deeper water where there will be such a catch of fish that we will need the help of the other churches in the benefice to bring it ashore.
Small changes in the way we do things, made in obedience to God’s call and with a degree of sacrifice on our part, will open the way to great blessing for us and for the communities that we serve.
Lord Jesus, thank you that you are interested in the whole of my life. Give me the grace to follow your pattern for living and the faith to put out into deeper water so that you might bless, not just me, but also the church and the community of which I am a part.