Wednesday, March 21, 2007

He who hesitates

In today's New Testament reading, Jesus uses Simon's boat as a portable lectern as he addresses the crowd for a while. Then he gives Simon a fishing lesson.
4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch." 5Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." 6When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.
Luke 5.4-6
What a great example! Simon is truthful; he tells Jesus his honest reaction. He hesitates. And then he decides to obey. Others have pointed out that Simon wanted everybody to know that going into the deep water wasn't his idea; it was the idea of that carpenter/Rabbi. Maybe he was just doing the 1st century version of CYA, but I still have to admire the guy.

How many of us, when we get an impression that maybe we're supposed to do something -- something to promote justice or to help the poor or otherwise advance the gospel -- how many of us reject the idea out of hand as impractical or unworkable? We don't even consider whether it might be from the Lord, because we don't want it to be.

Simon was not like that. He heard, he didn't like it, he grumbled a bit, but then he obeyed.

And Jesus the carpenter showed Simon the fisherman something about fishing.

What happened next? When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8).

Looking at that, I wondered if Simon really wanted Jesus to go away. I think Simon felt ashamed that he had ever doubted the Lord.

What a great guy he was! If I ever grow up, I want to be like him. Straightforward, sincere, sometimes frightened but willing to repent, sometimes wrong but never quiet or in doubt. But full of love for the Lord Jesus Christ, full of energy, always engaged.

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