Casting Nets

When he (Jesus) had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Now go out where it is deeper and let down your nets and you will catch a lot of fish!"

"Sir," Simon replied, "we worked hard all last night and didn't catch a thing. But if you say so, we'll try again."

And this time their nets were so full that they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.

When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, "Oh, sir, please leave us - I'm too much of a sinner for you to have around." For he was awestruck by the size of their catch, as were the others with him, and his partners too - James and John, the sons of Zebedee. Jesus replied, "Don't be afraid! From now on you'll be fishing for the souls of men!" Luke 5: 4-10 (TLB)

As a career fisherman, Simon - also called Peter - was an expert. Yet, here was this stranger offering instructions from the shore. Rhonda Douglas, from Texas, imagines Simon and his crew tried to say no respectfully. Maybe he brought out all the excuses; they had just worked the best fishing hours with no results; their nets were washed, mended, and put away; they were ready for a break. Basically, now was not the time. But when they finally followed Jesus' advice, their boat almost sank with the weight of their catch.

Rhonda is a lot like Pete. She considers herself an expert in knowing the best time to share the gospel. She has lots of excuses when Jesus calls: I am not articulate; I may not know the right answer; I could look foolish or be mocked. But then Rhonda remembers that it is the Holy Spirit who leads people to Christ. All she has to do is be faithful to the commission Christ gives her and simply throw out the nets. Jesus is with her and tells her, "Do not be afraid."

We too are like Rhonda - all we have to do is be faithful to Christ's call and throw out the nets; the Holy Spirit will do the rest.

Prayer: Guide us, Holy Spirit, that we may hear your call and be faithful in casting our nets, even when we feel inadequate, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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