Row out farther, into the deep water.

I’m not much of a daredevil, adventure seeker, or risk taker. I’m not an adrenaline junkie and I don’t get ‘high’ from thrills like skydiving or bungee jumping. The most exciting things I’ve done include screaming on roller coasters at Six Flags, riding a camel in Jerusalem, and having a baby. Some people might say I’m boring. I suspect Jesus’ 12 disciples were run-of-the-mill boring men too. They were happy and content with their lives, but Jesus asked for more. He wanted them to trust and obey Him, and the result was amazing.

When he finished speaking to the crowds, he said to Simon, “Row out farther, into the deep water, and drop your nets for a catch.” Simon replied, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and caught nothing. But because you say so, I’ll drop the nets.” So they dropped the nets and their catch was so huge that their nets were splitting. They signaled for their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They filled both boats so full that they were about to sink. When Simon Peter saw the catch, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Leave me, Lord, for I’m a sinner!” Peter and those with him were overcome with amazement because of the number of fish they caught. James and John, Zebedee’s sons, were Simon’s partners and they were amazed too. Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid. From now on, you will be fishing for people.” As soon as they brought the boats to the shore, they left everything and followed Jesus. ~ Luke 5:4-11 (Common English Bible)

Row out farther, into the deep water. Jesus instructed the men to go out farther away from shore. He asks us to step outside our comfort zone too. Most times, we’re hesitant, afraid of the unknown, and skeptical. The water is deep and our feet don’t touch the bottom. We’re unsure about the future because the plan is beyond our control or understanding.

We’ve worked hard and caught nothing. I sympathize with Simon Peter here. How often have I given 100% towards a task yet no one notices or the results were not what I expected. Or, like many people, I’m tired and have nothing to show for my efforts.

Then, something amazing happens …..

Because you say so, I’ll drop the nets. Because God calls me outside my comfort zone, I will swim in deep water. Because He has my best interests at heart, I’ll trust and obediently follow Him. Because He is Lord, I will.

Even though we are tested, our faith (our lives) rests on a foundation that cannot (will not) be shaken by deep waters, fears of the unknown, or empty fish nets.

I cannot fault the fishermen in Jesus’ time, as they were real humans with real doubt and skepticism. But their faith overcame these obstacles and they completely trusted their Master (Jesus). Their reward for being obedient was not just a few fish, but two boats so full they almost sank. God could have given the men enough to fill their nets, but He is not satisfied with enough -and neither should we. God chose to rock their world by demonstrating his extravagant generosity and abundance on a grand scale, just like His love for us!

They left everything and followed Jesus. Amazing things happen when we let go of bad habits and stay on the straight and narrow path of righteousness. God does not guarantee life without pain, hardship, or heartache, sometimes our efforts will go unnoticed and unappreciated, but, because He is Lord God, amazing things will happen if we’re willing to trust and obey Him.

Amen.