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Sunday, April 14, 2013
Today’s Reading | Luke 5:1–11
Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him. (NRSV)
We’ve all been there. We understand Simon’s point of view: he had been working all day, without anything to show for it. It isn’t much of a stretch to apply this to our everyday lives. How often do we feel like we are doing what God has called us to do, but we cannot see the reward? Then we are asked to do more: “Row out farther, into the deep water,” Jesus instructs Simon. Of course Simon is tired and doesn’t fully believe anything will happen. But he follows Jesus’ instructions and reaps a dangerously large catch of fish.
Jon Berquist reflects on this passage, focusing on the fishing metaphor. He notes that the possibility of catching a load that is dangerously large and has the potential to sink the boat was a real issue at the time. Ships were small and sometimes fragile. Reading Berquist’s writings makes me think of how we sometimes feel overwhelmed, like a small ship overloaded with fish.
Right as we think that continuing along the road is pointless, Jesus calls us to go farther. And it sometimes feels as if we are on the brink of sinking. But if we are able to continue trusting and following God’s call in our lives, we won’t sink. Following Jesus’ call is not easy, but we are not alone on the path.
Almighty and powerful God, you have called us to follow Jesus. Please give me the strength to follow your call. When I am tired and close to the brink of sinking, remind me that Jesus is in the boat too. Help me remember to “row out farther, into the deeper water.” Amen.
Written by Sarah Bennett, Director of Junior High Ministry
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