Gone Fishing

Do you ever pray about something and then have something so grip your thoughts that you can’t help but be assured that is the answer? I’m not saying every time we have a constant, never-ending thought it is an answer to prayer. I’m not even saying this thought that won’t let me go is an answer to my prayer, but it does give me plenty of pause for thought. Just what was the prayer? That Jesus would give me a theme or a topic of study for this year. I wanted one thing I could study more in-depth as a way to know Him in a deeper way. I’m reading a great book that launches next month (February 4, 2020) and it is stirring up all the old longings of my soul. Those longings I believed were long dead.

Jesus has gripped my heart so fully in the past few years. But let me back up a bit. I have long thought and believed I was talent-less. I had no real talent to offer as a means of worship and praise to Jesus. A friend of mine has shared when he was around fourteen years of age he prayed for one great talent so he could praise Jesus with it. Jesus answered that prayer and my friend became an amazing pianist. I longed for the same. Not necessarily an ability to play the piano, but just a talent I could hone in service to Jesus. I read great books that drive me deeper in love of Jesus. I read these books and marvel at how the authors describe life and pull stories and truth from all aspects of life; I’m left marveling and wondering how they do that. Or I’ll watch a ballerina on the stage and think I wish I could express myself in that way. For His glory. But I’m still here dancing like I’m having a heart attack.

Yesterday at the start of this new year, I prayed. And then I read Luke 5:4.

Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.

Luke 5:4 nasb

The thought of fishing would not leave me be. I asked a few fisherman friends about fishing in deep vs. shallow water. It seems it is easier to fish in the shallows. Maybe Jesus told them to put out into the deep water because life with Him is not the easy way. We have to do things differently because we are different. He is always calling us deeper, drawing us into Himself and His life. We find the miracles we are after, we find sustenance for another day on this planet when we go deep.

All night the fishermen had been out fishing and had caught nothing. And we’ve all been there. We do everything we know to do and have nothing to show for it except bags under our eyes. It is in these times we need to know when the answer is No and when the answer is “put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch. How will we know the difference? It takes a walk with Him. It requires listening to His voice above that of our enemies and our own self. It requires our belief in Him and what He has already told us. Jesus always bids us to go deep. I do not want to settle for a shallow life of a shallow faith. I want a deep life of wild and reckless abandonment to the One who drives me deeper for His glory.

As we read further in Luke 5, we find the fishermen obeyed Jesus command to put out into the deep water. We read they were richly rewarded for their obedience. The amount of fish caught in the nets caused them to break and help was needed to haul it all in. In this we learn three things.

  1. Obedience heaps great rewards. Rewards beyond our wildest imaginings. “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us.” (Ephesians 3:20)
  2. Heaping great rewards brings conviction of our identity and that of Jesus. When the fish was hauled in, Peter realized he was a sinful man standing in the presence of deity. He knew not only that he was a sinner, but that Jesus was good.
  3. Conviction of identity brings a change of identity and a new job focus. We can hold the same job (Peter did) but after an encounter with Jesus in that job, we are changed. The job is both changed and remains the same. So many of us believe to truly serve Jesus vocationally we must be a missionary or at the very least, work for a “Christian” organization. Jesus says, “Stay where you are. Stay there. I just changed YOU, not your job.”

Change often brings fear and alarm. But Jesus speaks a “Don’t” to each one. Why? Because He is the same. We fear and are alarmed by what we cannot control. And what can we control? Nothing. We simply believe lies that give us the sense of control. This is why we must surrender all to Him – every part – even our soul longing sense of control. Every moment we spend fighting for control, we spend believing we are greater than God. Which makes us both an adulterer and an idolator.

That is not how I want to go into 2020, do you? Would you join me in a quest to put out into the deep waters and lower our nets for a catch? I’m not promising anyone wealth or a life of goodness and ease, quite the opposite. But in Jesus it is worth it.

Let’s go fishing…