Luke 5:1-6 V4-5 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.
Whether at work, sport, or just at home doing the chores, most of us have partly disregarded a request or order at some stage. I've previously spoken of my disobedience to a boss and the ensuing penalty.
Why are instructions given? At times we might think people pass them onto us as punishment. When I was in prison, sometimes they were. But generally, orders are given to derive some sort of benefit. Regardless of the reason, if we partly fill a request, the result goes lacking.
Reading the above scripture, we notice that Jesus requested Peter to let down his nets. Yet Peter, thinking he knew his fishing trade inside-out, and therefore what would Jesus the carpenter know, decided to let down a net. Peter and his brother Andrew had been fishing earlier and brought in little. He, therefore, decided to reinterpret Jesus' instructions based on his own knowledge.
Peter may have had another motive. Perhaps dragging large nets in and out of the water and keeping them from tangling is a challenging task he didn't want to do again unnecessarily. I recall when sailing competitively, preventing a spinnaker from ''wine-glassing' (twisting in the middle) as we hoisted and flew it was exacting work. Accurately packing it away was vital for the next time we used it.
Whatever went through Peter's mind, he didn't entirely follow instructions with faith. At the time, Jesus didn't make a big deal out of it, but I'm sure He took note. As disciples of Christ, our obedience is imperative. It doesn't matter whether we think instruction is unnecessary; we're shortcutting if we do it half-heartedly, and the blessing will match it, whether for ourselves or others.
Peter brought in a lot of fish. Jesus had blessed Peter's catch. But what would the result have been had he believed and followed? Double the money? Double the food on someone's table? Double Peter's faith?
In what areas has the Lord asked us to follow instructions?
Matthew 6:33 "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, AND his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." What if we don't follow through with the righteousness part? Is that like the S in nets?
Luke 9:23 " And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." At the persecution of Christ, Peter denied Him, not himself. Had Peter obeyed the 'net' instruction, I wonder whether he would have found greater faith at the persecution? Maybe the net issue was part of the reason Jesus knew Peter would deny him. (Luke 22:34). Is there something more profound in obedience that directly relates to the amount of faith we have when we need it?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this IS the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning YOU." Do we do that? Are we full of rejoicing? Or only when good things happen? Do we pray without ceasing or leave prayer for the odd need?
1 Thessalonians 5:21 instructs us to "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." In these COVID times, Christians pass on many theories. Do we prove their accuracy before posting to Facebook or emailing to our list?
During good or hard days, Jesus calls us to follow His instruction obediently. Doing this is not always easy. It often goes against our instincts. But God knows where He has hidden the gold, silver and precious stones. Obedience unearths them.
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, I'm seeing the deeper reasons for following you obediently. I know you've addressed that with me before, so please help me follow you as you ask, and cease from my unconcerned, lukewarm approach.
Photo by Nick Fewings