In this story we see a fisherman named Simon who has had a rough night. He has toiled all night and caught nothing. For all the work he put in, he received nothing! So that day when Simon got out of the boat, it represented his frustrations, failures, and attitudes. Remember, he wasn’t fishing for a leisure activity; this was his livelihood. The scripture says the fishermen were “washing their nets.” This was a clear indication they were done. The act of washing their nets would have been a tedious procedure and only performed when they were finished. So here you have a sleep deprived, frustrated, irritated man who is turning in for the day. Sometimes in our own life we want to step out of the boat or a “certain situation” and clean our net. We want to rid ourselves of problems with our marriage, maybe delinquent teenagers, problems at work, or a friend relationship, so we step out of the boat. Sometimes we are frustrated, irritated, confused, or heart-broken over things we just can’t understand, but instead of taking them to God, we just hang up our nets.
3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
Simon does what Jesus asks and pushes the boat into the shallow water. The Lord used the very boat that represented disappointment and fatigue for Simon and transformed people’s lives from it. The very thing that Simon was so frustrated with, Jesus used as a platform for the gospel. Sometimes it will be those situations that are so frustrating that He will use for His glory. This is the part that gets even better! 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch. 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing!”
So far Simon had not expended much energy because he was just allowing Jesus to sit in the boat, but now Jesus is asking more of him. Oh, this part just gives me goose bumps because at this time Simon has not been called to be a disciple. It was simply on the authority he felt from Jesus that Simon replies, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”
Don’t miss what this means because Simon has already done the tedious task of putting up the nets. Now Jesus is asking him to take those clean, nice, fresh nets and cast them back into the murky water. Now the last thing I would want to do after spending all night fishing and all morning cleaning my nets is to mess it up again. However, sometimes God asks us to take emotional, financial, and maybe even time consuming risk for His glory. Putting into the deep would go against everything that Simon knew as a fisherman because everyone knew you fished in the shallow water not deep water. So although none of Jesus’ directions are making sense to him, he is obedient. When he was in shallow water, it didn’t require much of him, but now pushing out to the deep will require work. He has to row them out to the deep, unload the heavy nets, and do the casting. The Lord sometimes asks us to continuously trust him and throw our nets back into the spiritual waters that don’t make sense. From our thinking we see it as a ridiculous request. In our minds we just want to walk away, hang up our net, because sometimes it feels depressing to keep toiling at what we are doing. Sometimes we are comfortable to stay in the shallow where little is expected of us, but when we truly grow is when we step out into the deep where we know God will have to sustain us. The Bible tells us, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8
Simon was being challenged by Jesus to push out into the deep water and trust Him. Simon was obedient in letting down his nets. 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
When I read these words my heart is so overwhelmed that God was not only trustworthy, but also faithful to Simon in abundance. If Simon had continued to stay in the shallow water he would have never experienced this miracle. Don’t miss it guys! Simon had to put out his net again. No matter how exhausted he was, or how irritated, he had to physically make a choice to cast the net one more time. Not only did one more time change his life, but it also changed his friends and everyone around him. Simon is so overwhelmed by Jesus that he falls at His feet because he knows he is so unworthy. God loves to overwhelm us, to lavish us with His blessings. We just have to be obedient and wait for them to come. “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” Malachi 3:10
He is simply looking for those people who are willing to trust Him in the deep waters of life. Anyone can walk in shallow water, but only the courageous can swim in the deep!