When he (Jesus) 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. So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
These are very familiar verses to well read Christians, and yet something of their meaning has not left me since I once again came across them.
Picture the scene - Simon Peter and his friends were experienced, professional fisher men. This is what they did! It was hard, wet and dangerous work. It was long hours. It was their living. Their best efforts that night had seen them working all night and yet they hadn't caught anything. Did they lack ability? Clearly not, but that night they caught nothing.
When Jesus turned up in the proceeding verses (1-3), Simon and his team were already on the shore, cleaning their nets. No doubt tired and down hearted, they still offered help to Jesus when he asked by letting him use the boat to speak to a crowd of people standing on the shore. There was nothing in it for Simon, it seemed. No promise of payment or reward, just a service that he could offer, as the owner of the boat, in allowing Jesus to use it to speak from.
Simon must have liked what he heard, because when Jesus had finished and had turned to Simon suggesting they put out to deep water and lower the nets again (as they had just been doing all night long), the experienced but tired fisherman replied that because it was Jesus that asked, he would listen to him.
Right here I am going to jump into our own situation. My family came to Russia because I heard God tell me too. In England, we had fished for a long time, with very little success, just a few things here and there, it seemed (everything done for God though is rewarded). We didn't feel very able though. We didn't see any abundance so as to break our nets. But having obeyed God and followed him to St Petersburg, without doing anything else, or anything special, now when we've lowered the nets, there is a big catch! Nearly everyone we invite, it seems, is able to come. In England, we invited just as many people, but they wouldn't come. Here they do? And it seems the same for several others within the church plant team.
Having only met for meals on Wednesday nights for two months, we are getting 30 people most weeks...each week anything between 3-10 new people that haven't been before come along. So in two months maybe 60, or more, different people have come through the doors.
What has changed?
Well, at this point I'll tie the two stories together, I hope. In both settings it was clear that human ability alone hadn't done the trick. Both had tried their best but hadn't caught the kind of catch they wanted. And then Jesus spoke. The Authority of God was on the situation. Through obedience, in both settings movement was done to go to where God told them. And once there, doing nothing different to what we had done before (so as to be clear that it was God going the gathering and not 'man') suddenly, there is an abundant catch.
When you are obedient and in the place Jesus had asked you to be, and therefore within the Now Will of God under his authority, you will find that Jesus himself breathes life into your best efforts and it is He that makes them successful - for his glory!
So where is the Now Will of God?
For you, I don't know. But God does! Have you asked him about it lately? And remember, its the Now will of God so that even if you are in a place that God spoke to you about ten years ago, has he said other stuff since to which you have not obeyed? Maybe he hasn't, but what if he has? Would you therefore still be in the most fruitful and blessed place?
I hope you have found this helpful. To God be the glory! (Great things he has done..)
Welcome! It's wonderful to see you here!
I'm a passionate writer - and therefore spend most of my time writing thriller novels. But I also live an interesting life in the nations. This blog is here for that aspect of my life - our life - I live with my wonderful wife and two daughters.
I believe in encouragement. I live for obedience. I believe in learning from our experiences, and this blog exists for both of those, and more.
So that you stay connected, getting every new update, please add your email address to receive all updates directly, or follow the RSS feed.
I was part of the leadership team in St Petersburg, Russia - which planted Hope Church in 2009.(www.hopechurchstpetersburg.com).
In March 2012 Hope Church sent my family to plant into Tallinn, the Capital of Estonia. I therefore lead this small but growing church plant team. Here is the website for Hope Tallinn (www.hopetallinn.ee)
For details on our journey here, read the series called Adventures of Faith which is linked for you on the right hand column, just below. That details our original journey to Russia and then onto Tallinn 4 years later.
Author for fiction novels - Cherry Picking (2012), The Last Prophet (2015), The Tablet (2015) and The Shadow Man (2016) are available on all major bookselling sites. Please visit: www.timheathbooks.com
Some want to help in practical ways: