There are so many Kingdom principles that don’t make sense, and yet work. God can do more through a moment of obedience, than we can do in a lifetime of professional work. Imagine being an expert fisherman and toiling all night without any luck. Then along comes a rabbi. He tells you how to do a job and your nets overflow with fish. They overflow so much that your partners are also blessed. That is the God we serve.
One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets.
Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”
“Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”
And this time their nets were so full of fish 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, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.
Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” Luke 5:1-10 NLT
I hold so tight to what I know, what I have been taught, my skills, abilities, and talents. Those things equip me for my purpose. There are things that I don’t have to think about, making happen just because of the gifts that God has placed on my life. Yet there are some days that I spin my wheels trying to make something happen. Some days I give it everything I have and yet get nowhere. There are times that I even involve others into my efforts trying to brainstorm solutions to the barriers I face; yet the ideas still fail. I frustrate myself, and usually others, with my hard work.
Yet often in those times, God is calling me to try something different. To go out deeper than my skills, abilities, and talents can take me. When I listen to His voice, in those times of frustration, He always amazes me.
I remember one time that I was working on a fundraiser. We had stalled at a certain amount. We didn’t want to change our venue because we wanted to keep it intimate, but I had set a goal that would require something to change. I had brainstormed with the development director, but we weren’t coming up with a solution that could meet the goal.
Just before our meeting with a board member, I had a God planted idea. Just restructure the sponsorships. I knew it was God because when we sat down to meet, I threw out the restructuring idea. One of the board members did the math, just that one small change brought us to $4,000 less than the goal. His math didn’t take into account other activities tied to the event. In one moment of letting my net down again, God showed up and left us all awestruck.
I wish I could say that did it for me. That I quickly learned to just go to God first instead of trying in my own power to get things done. I haven’t. Like Peter, I often get my eyes off the master and find myself sinking. I still try to make my hard work move the hand of God. I still put works before listening and obedience. But I do know that even when my hard work fails, God is there saying “Let down your nets again.” and still does more than I can think, imagine or ask for, because that is the God I serve.