Have you ever laughed at one of God’s requests?! I know I have! I mean, sometimes they can seem so ridiculous, and borderline crazy. Not like bad crazy, but like the kind of crazy that means we run the risk of looking foolish to everyone else…
I love when Jesus asked to borrow Simon’s boat as a pulpit (Luke 5:1-11). Simon and his friends had just come in from their shift of fishing and were cleaning everything up to put it away for the day. Then Jesus comes along, climbs into Simon’s boat, and then asks him to put the boat out a little ways so that the people could see and hear him better. At this point, I’m sure Simon is like, “yeah, sure, okay, Jesus, you’re a great preacher, I’m mean look at all these people that have come to hear you! Of course, you can use my boat as your pulpit; I’d be honored!”
But then after Jesus taught the crowd He turned to Simon and told him to put his boat out into the deep water and put his nets back into the water for a catch. Record scratch.
At this point, Simon has to make a crazy choice. The crowd was still all there, all eyes on Simon’s boat and Jesus tells him to take his boat back out into the water and put his nets down with everyone watching.
Jesus is basically asking him to put his reputation on the line. Here’s Simon, a known fisherman. He had already gone fishing for the day and didn’t even get a nibble. His nets were cleaned and he was already in rest mode for the day. But then Jesus comes along and asks him to publically trust Him by going back out to fish.
I can imagine what’s going through Simon’s head, “Now?! But my boat’s all cleaned, my nets are put away. I just got done cleaning everything up, and it’s all packed up! I literally just worked my butt off; I’ve already put everything on the line for the day, Jesus! I’m wiped, and seriously, I’m ready to call it a day…I know your day just got started, but mine is over. And honestly, you must not know much about fishing because this is a horrible time to go. I hate to tell you this, but Jesus, I happen to be the expert in this scenario. Why don’t you stick to your teaching and preaching?” Simon has a split second to make a choice while everyone’s eyes are on him. Is he going to quietly tell Jesus this is a horrible idea or is he going to muster up all of his courage, humble himself completely, and do what Jesus said, risking looking like the biggest fool? He’s got to be pitting out at this point; I know I would be! And in that moment, tension thick in the air, Simon says to Jesus,
“Master, we’ve been fishing hard all night and haven’t caught even a minnow. But if you say so, I’ll let out the nets.” (Luke 5:5)
If you know anything about water, you know that sound travels really well over it. So in this moment, for everyone to hear, Simon agrees to do the most foolish thing a seasoned fisherman could do. But something in him caused him to put his reputation aside and to trust Jesus. He had just been out in those waters and didn’t even get a nibble! His whole crew knew this too. He knew this looked crazy. If he went back out there and didn’t catch anything, would anyone even want to work with him again?! They’d think he’d lost it. They would forever more question his abilities, his knowledge, his wisdom, his trade, everything he had worked for all these years!
Simon goes out, the nets go down, and no sooner did they touch the water then a huge haul of fish start to overload the nets!
Here’s the thing. We don’t know if Jesus knew the fish were already there or if He caused them to be there, but what we do know is that Simon would never have experienced the miracle of that catch if he hadn’t been willing to risk his reputation and look crazy, willing to become completely humbled, willing to take a ridiculous leap of faith, and go fishing one more time!
Experiencing miracles almost always involves us humbling ourselves, putting our public reputations on the line, and risking looking foolish to everyone watching. It’s trusting Jesus and saying, “okay Lord, the circumstances couldn’t be worse for experiencing success at the moment, but if You say so, I’m in” and then putting the results in Jesus’ hands, no matter what happens. The risks are certainly there, but so are incredible miracles! Who’s in?!