Saturday, 31 January 2009

Called to deep water

"Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch" Luke 5:4
Jesus had been teaching the crowd from a boat in the shallows and he then commands Simon to go fishing after a night spent unable to catch anything. Simon obeys and they catch an abundance of fish which is taken to shore with additional help. Simon breaks down and calls Jesus 'Lord' and is promptly called to follow him, which he does, leaving everything.

Shallows and deep water
Shallows are lovely and safe. We sometimes need time in the shallows but we don't need lots of time there. You can't let down nets in the shallows, fish are unlikely to be there. You can get some good teaching in the shallows but then you do need to put it into practice. In the shallows you can rely on yourself, in deep water you have to rely on Jesus.
It is no wonder that Jesus wanted Simon to do something that was against his 'better' judgement - he was teaching him a lesson of reliance and trust - Simon had already seen that Jesus could heal his mother, now he would see that at the word of Jesus he, himself, could do something just as amazing in the company of Jesus and with help from his friends!
There is a tendency in us to seek control - especially amongst professional middle-class Christians. If we stay in the shallows we can manage things, we can make the most of what there is in the shallows - we play at church rather than live as followers of Jesus. We play safe and rely on our own understanding, skills, talents and experience. Of course we do have the nets and the boats that can be used for a catch but if we aren't following the commands of Jesus then we will end up not going deep enough to let them down in the right place.
Deep water is not very comfortable for us when we have spent so much time in the shallows and yet it is what we are called to and where the teaching and example of Jesus constantly calls us to be. As a church we are putting out into deep water and we have to give up on our better judgements, sacrifice our own control, stop relying on ourselves and keep trusting that Jesus knows what he is doing and if he says do something.... then we do it and we will have a catch of fish.

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