“Because you say so…”
I LOVE to go fishing. In fact, when I moved to the South I left several items behind and even sold the majority of my belongings; but my fishing pole was not one of them. Since I was born I’ve had the “fisher(wo)man’s gene” in my blood. Both of my grandfathers were die-hard fishermen and I like to refer to my dad as the “amateur-professional” who would fish day and night all year round if the bitter cold Minnesota winters allowed it.
For years, my dad and I and good friends Jessica and Dave would all go fishing over Father’s Day weekend. We loved the experience of sitting on the boat from sun-up to sun-down reading, listening to country music, talking and CATCHING fish! We would make it interesting most days and throw in friendly competitions: Who caught the most fish? Who caught the biggest fish? Who caught the last fish? The winners didn’t have to clean the fish, cook or do anything the rest of the night. After 12 or more hours on the water in the hot sun, doing nothing sounded amazing! Unfortunately, I never knew what that felt like. My dad influenced me to love fishing; however, I must have missed the lessons on catching. No matter how determined I was (changing hooks/lures, changing poles, changing bait, moving to different ends of the boat, drifting, anchored…didn’t matter), I stunk at catching! My friend Jessica would fall asleep with a book in one hand and her pole in the other and she would get a bite…and then wake up and the fish would be on her hook! It always made me laugh!…as I sat there struggling with my seaweed covered lures.
I remember asking my dad on several occasions what I was doing wrong. He would say “give me your pole…” and he would teach me the proper way to set the hook, feel for a bite, etc. I remember one time he was actually showing me a new trick he learned and caught a fish right there during the lesson. Most of the time, though, I recall not listening even when he told me to do something. For example, he would say, “they are biting on this side of the boat, come over here and sit in my spot” …and I would stay right where I was – pretending not to hear him or respond by saying, “Okay, one minute.”…and I would never move (because it was more comfortable or because I thought my spot was better).
“Because I said so!” Words that were easy for my dad to use in teachable moments or to discipline or even to protect. But such challenging words for my conflicting and stubborn heart to obey.
One day Jesus said those words to Peter and John. Not exactly word for word, but that’s what He meant.
“Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” (Luke 5:5)
Peter and John had been on the open sea casting their ropes and hauling in empty nets all night. Other than algae, seaweed, and a few bits of trash, their nets had brought in nothing. No fish. No income. No food to feed the hungry mouths that depended on them back at home.
As the sun made its way over the horizon, the discouraged men washed their nets on the shore. Then Jesus, the carpenter and teacher, followed by a hungry crowd, asked to use their boat as a platform.
He got in Peter’s boat, pushed away from the shore a bit, and began to teach the crowds sitting along the beach. When He had finished teaching, He turned to Peter. “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4).
(I can just imagine Peter’s thoughts: C’mon who is this guy? We’ve been fishing all night and have caught nothing and here comes this carpenter telling us how to do our job.)
“Sir, we’ve fished all night and caught nothing. But because you say so, we’ll do it.” Luke 5:5 (emphasis added)
Peter and John rowed away from the shore and hoisted the freshly cleaned nets one more time. Just then, the God of the universe who created the fish and the seas whistled for the schools of fish to head for the nets (that’s how I imagine it!) The fish filled the nets like teenagers pouring into a rock concert.
Peter and John must have laughed. I would have. The catch was so large that the nets began to break. They couldn’t even contain all the fish. (Luke 5:6-7)
Can you just imagine the size of their eyes, the drop of their jaws, the strain of their muscles as they pulled in such a blessing? Not only were Peter and John blessed because of their obedience, they called their friends in to enjoy their bounty as well.
“Because you say so…”
Notice what Peter did after he hauled in the miraculous catch. He left it all behind and followed Jesus to become a fisher of men. (Luke 5:10-11)
That was the real catch of the day. How silly we are to think that the true blessing was simply financial gain or instant gratification in those moments. Peter had financial gain with this incredible catch, and yet he left it all behind to follow the One who pursued and caught his heart.
“Put out into the deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” (It was a simple request—nothing earthshattering).
Peter had no idea that obeying Jesus would lead to such an all-encompassing life-changing experience. Our little acts of obedience may do the same.
What “nets” do we need to let down in order to catch the blessings that God has coming?
Don’t look for the seemingly big showy acts of obedience to get your name in heavenly lights. People might be impressed, but God won’t be. Respond to His daily nudges and obey humbly as you let down your nets faithfully into the deep unknown waters of life.