I can’t speak for everyone, but I am not a morning person. At all. Especially since I seldom go to bed before 2am. My thinking, my stamina, my energy–they all are at top-tier during the late night hours.
So, when I have to wake up around 7.30 to begin a day, I cannot function at full aptitude. I need time to ease into the day, to tap into the leftover energy of the previous night. It takes me a while to feel as though I can think, much less be productive.
In Luke 5, we see Jesus standing by the lake of Gennesaret where he was watching the fishermen cleaning their nets in the water. They had been working all night, and their nets were empty. Another restless, fruitless night of hard labor.
I can imagine the frustration of the brothers. This, their livelihood, had yielded absolutely nothing of substance. They wouldn’t be selling or bartering today. They would have to wait until tomorrow to even hope at catching fish.
The men’s two boats sat ashore, and in verse 3 we see Jesus climb into Simon Peter’s boat and ask him to put it out a little way in the water. Doing this allowed the acoustics of Jesus’s voice to be more audible to the large crowd following Him. But Jesus’s purpose went beyond mere audio.
Putting myself in Peter’s shoes, I would have been frustrated. Exhausted from hours of waiting and casting, Peter had nothing to show for his diligence. He probably wanted to go home, get something to eat, and plan for the following venture. More than likely, if we are as similar as I believe, Peter wasn’t in the mood to deter his return home.
But Jesus asked. Peter subdued his desires and his fatigue and did as Jesus asked.
Verse 4 says when Jesus finished speaking that He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”
“But Jesus,” I would have protested. “I’ve been out all night. My eyes are burning from being so tired. My hands are raw from casting the net time and time again. My head is throbbing, and my stomach is growling. Can this wait? I have a feeling I know what the outcome will be.”
Even though Peter may very well have been thinking something similar to this, he answered Jesus in the affirmative, saying “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as you say and let down the nets.”
Simple obedience. This is all Jesus asks of us. Simple, faithful obedience. Our flesh may desire to do the exact opposite, but like Peter we need to choose Jesus regardless of how we feel. We don’t have to understand why He asks us to do something, but we can trust He has a purpose.
Peter was obedient. He knew his labor had been fruitless before, but he listened to Jesus anyway. And little did he know the Vine was about to do a marvelous thing in his life.
I don’t even want us to focus on the miracle Jesus performed on behalf of Peter because I don’t want our eyes to be so set on the destination that we miss the details.
We are called to be faithful to Christ’s call and obedient even when we don’t understand the reasoning. Moment by moment, we must choose to look beyond the comforts of our flesh and actively listen to the instructions of the Master.