“When 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.” -Luke 5: 4-5, NIV
Picture the scene: tired fisherman who are hungry and who need to catch fish, not only for their daily food, but for their livelihood. Imagine the weight placed on their shoulders and the families that are waiting for them back home. Can you feel their despair?
Into this scene comes Jesus. He meets these fishermen where they are; somewhere between hope for fish and despair at what hasn’t been. Jesus invites them to put their nets into the water and catch fish. He tells them to do precisely what they’ve been doing all night. He doesn’t give them any new tip or trick; he simply tells them to let down their nets.
I know when I’m tired and frustrated I can have two responses: all out anger and giving up OR trying anything at all costs knowing there’s nothing left to lose.
We hear from Simon his choice – acknowledging what’s happened (we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything), but also trusting the advice of Jesus who stands before him (But because you say so, I will let down the nets.)
But because you say so….
I’m caught by this phrase because by all accounts Simon and the others know what will happen when they put down their nets. They’ve worked all night. They’ve caught nothing. Yet, Jesus invites them to put down their nets one more time. And for some reason, Simon does.
But because you say so…
I imagine Simon thinking to himself: we’ve caught nothing, this won’t work, there are no fish, this is pointless, but because you say so, Jesus, I”ll give it a try.
Simon trusts more in the person of Jesus in front of him than in the experiences he had the previous night. He trusts the invitation of Jesus more than the lack of fish he’s caught. He trusts Jesus because he said so.
I have plenty of things that I don’t fully believe or trust simply because they’re too hard to understand, or my own experiences have taught me otherwise. Yet, Simon’s faith inspires me and reminds me that it’s not about what I’ve seen or experienced but rather about the One in whom I place my trust.
Can I listen for Jesus’ invitation to put down my nets – those nets of fear, insecurity, doubt – and trust. Can I trust that his voice and call in my life are the way to finding hope?
Because you say so, Jesus, I will listen. Jesus calls each of us, where we are, in whatever situation we find ourselves, and he invites us to use our entire being to bring hope and healing into the world. For some it’s letting go of insecurity and doubt, for others it’s letting go of ego, and for others it’s trusting their own voice to speak up for others.
Because Jesus says so we can revel in his grace and forgiveness in our lives. We can open our nets wide to experience his presence. We can lay down ourselves to make room for Jesus in our lives.
Because you say so Jesus, I’m here and willing. Let us all listen to Jesus’ invitation and let down our nets.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website, follow her work on Facebook, or sign up for her monthly newsletter.