Simon answered, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing! But at your word I will lower the nets.” Luke 5:5
Reading through the book of Luke, the story of Jesus and Simon in Luke 5:1-11 has haunted me. I’ve read this verse and this passage over and over again throughout the past few weeks. I get the sense that God isn’t finished with this passage in my life. In particular, Simon’s statement, “Because you say so” is really getting to me.
This line comes in contrast to the efforts of Simon and his co-workers in the lines preceding. Simon and his fellow workers have been working hard, working hard at something they do really well, working hard for a long time, they have persevered. In all their efforts they have produced nothing. To them this is possibly a great failure and frustration. All of the effort and time at something for which they are experts and nothing. For any of us, when we put time, resources, and strength into an effort we’re supposed to be good at we expect results. Many of us expect excellent results. Getting no results at all can be a great source of discouragement and frustration. It can lead us to question whether we are doing what we’re supposed to be doing. I do not know if this is what these men felt, but I wonder if these thoughts crossed their minds. They were human after all.
So when Jesus says to Simon and his fellow fisherman to go out to the deep water and put down your nets we don’t know what is going on in Simon’s mind and heart, we just read his response: “Okay master, we’ve put in all our efforts with no results but because you say so, I will.” Simon explains the history of the night and shows the contrast by using the word “but”. Essentially, history and experience is what Simon knows but for some reason Simon decides that Jesus’ command is worth following. He respects and submits to Jesus’ command. Jesus’ command contradicts Simon’s history, experience and expertise, yet Simon is willing to do what Jesus asks. Because you say so.
I often find myself bringing out my arguments to Jesus and why something won’t work. I often find myself unwilling even to listen to what He is asking. Simon was not ignorant or lacking knowledge, he was in fact quite capable. With all of these qualifications he was willing to follow and to obey because the request came from Jesus. How can we have the posture of Simon that says, “Because you say so”?
A few thoughts:
- Allow God to interrupt. Jesus interrupted Simon and the others while they were wrapping up from their hard night of work. Jesus interrupted so that He could teach the crowd. Simon allowed the interruption.
- Posture yourself to hear God’s call. In prayer, spend time listening, not just speaking. Throughout your day, as you’re walking with Jesus, pay attention to what God might be saying to you.
- Have respect for Jesus. We are capable, educated and informed yet this does not make us better qualified than Jesus to make decisions.
- History and experience have their place. Acknowledge how our history and experience informs us yet may not always be the best to lead us.
- Do not overanalyze the call to obedience. Recognize within our areas of capability, education and experience Jesus calls us to obey even when His call does not seem to “line up” with our thoughts.
- Let Jesus take care of outcomes. Often Jesus has a bigger (and very different) picture in mind than we do. He has a simple call to obedience yet the impact can be multiplied.
May you allow Jesus to interrupt, hear His call and follow Him saying, “Because you say so.”