When Jesus invites you to go fishing, you may be surprised by the results. Peter certainly learned that from the account in Luke 5, but you and I could probably share a “fish story” or two that run along a similar path. All of us have certain areas where we sense a degree of competence. Said another way, we all believe we have a few tools on our skill belts as a result of our education, experience, practice . . . or perhaps just from staying overnight in a Holiday Inn. We think, “I’ve got that” or “I don’t need help with this.” Just typing those quotes reminded me that preschoolers also say the same thing to proclaim their “proficiencies” and assert their independence.
There is something to the notion that “a camel was a horse created by committee” and there can be “too many cooks in the kitchen,” but as we mature and even if we may be the “expert,” we hopefully learn there may be alternative ways to do things and often more than one route to any destination. Going back to Peter, he was a skilled and experienced fisherman who had just spent a grueling night at sea, returning exhausted and sleepy eyed to shore with empty nets. Along comes a carpenter turned preacher who hops in Peter’s boat, gives a short sermon to the crowd on shore (while Peter is probably still cleaning nets, not fish) and then tells, not asks Peter (and his crew) to put out to DEEP water and fish again! Jesus, what gumption!
Why would a boat captain listen to a carpenter/preacher? But Peter did listen and obeyed with his reason being “because you said so” (v.5), and the catch was so enormous it filled 2 boats and the nets were breaking. That was not the outcome this experienced fisherman anticipated. He could well have thought to himself, “I’ll show you, Jesus, who knows what about these waters.” Who would have thought that this carpenter/preacher knew best, that his judgment was better than the resident expert? At this juncture, Peter didn’t know much about Jesus at all, about Jesus’ mastery over nature and his infinite wisdom in all things. So, why am I still tempted in certain situations to go with my wisdom, my experience, my “better judgment” and my gut when I have available to me the wisdom of God through his word as well as from the counsel of his Spirit within me and through other believers?
Perhaps the answer lies somewhere between stubbornness, self-will and ignorance. Since the rule books say “ignorance is no excuse” and I do have the available counsel of Jesus through his word, his Spirit and his people, I’m stuck with dealing with my self-will and stubbornness. If the example from Peter of trusting in Jesus vs. my better judgment can yield such unexpected positive results, I believe I am now inclined to press in a little closer towards him. Never mind allowing God to be my co-pilot. I think I am better off with God in the first chair. How about you? Think About It.