Press In, Put Out, Plod On

“On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 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. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’ And Simon answered, ‘Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.’ And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 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. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.’ For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 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.’ And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.” Luke 5:1-11

Order makes a difference to our Lord, and so do effort and motivation. One of the qualities so ripe for refinement in these fisherman was their patient perseverance, learned over long hours of offering bait. But Jesus would teach them, and show with visual aid, that self-effort and temporal reward would not yield what was eternal. Pressing in to hear His word, then putting out per His instruction, as stewards responding to the Master’s call, would result in a far greater catch. It would make them marvel at His bounty, and be ashamed at their own pride. It would reorient their life-purpose, as they put honed skills to use in a new, redeemed way to make a lasting impact. It would keep them astonished, willing, surrendered, and dependent as they plodded on following Him.

Are there areas in our lives where we toil busily, but fruitlessly? Do we feel spent, with nothing to show for our efforts? Where might Jesus steer us in a new direction or venue through His word– a deeper faith, a new conviction, a fresh place or pace of ministry?

Do I clamor to hear from Jesus, pushing aside every distraction to hear His voice? And when I hear, do I hesitate, make excuses, or quickly obey? How has my obedience been blessed in such a way that my confidence in Him has grown, and propelled me to deeper trust and fuller surrender? Where and how is God’s marvelous hand humbling me? What is the Lord calling me to let loose so I can follow Him unfettered?

Lord, call me away from wayward efforts toward new fruitfulness. Grant me boldness to put out in new waters, and keep on for Your purposes and glory.

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