Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Thoughts on Obedience

"He saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets.  He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, 'Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.' Simon answered, 'Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.' When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break." 
- Luke 5:2-6

I've read this story many times and always, it's about the miracle of the catch of fish.  This time, however, something completely different stood out to me - the obedience of Simon.

If I were Simon, I would have said something like, "Look, Jesus.  Leave the fishing to me and I'll leave the rabbinical duties to you.  Don't tell me how to do my job!  I've been working all night and if I haven't caught any fish, it's because there aren't any fish in the lake!"  I would have argued, and whether I would have obeyed in the end is questionable.

At this point in the story, Simon didn't know Jesus was the Messiah.  He was just some rabbi who used Simon's boat as a pulpit because the crowd on the beach was too large.  Maybe it was this unconventionality that drew Simon to Jesus ("I like this guy... swimming upstream from everyone else!").  Or maybe Simon obeyed out of sarcasm ("Hey guys, the Rabbi is telling us how to fish.  Should we entertain him?  This should be a hoot!").

In any case, he obeyed, and that obedience was rewarded with so many fish that the nets began to break.  And that led to a career change for Simon, who eventually became Peter and the pioneer of the early Church.

I wonder how much I have missed because I - in my own wisdom and "expertise" - refused to obey?

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