Saturday, September 24, 2011

Try It One More Time – Jesus is Here

Garris Elkins
Recently, I was reflecting on Luke 5 where Jesus calls Simon to follow Him after he and his friends had fished all night and caught nothing. As I read the text, I thought of all who are now struggling with the implications of the global financial downturn and its effect on so many. People are doing their best to make things work, but their nets are coming back empty.

In this text Jesus took Peter back out into the deep waters where he had failed to catch anything the previous night. What followed was a supernatural harvest that caused those watching to be both awestruck and amazed at what they were seeing. As I reflected on this event I heard the Lord say to me, "Tell them to try it again – I am in the boat." I knew the Lord was asking me to encourage people who are living under the weight of financial despair without the hope of a new future.

As I prayed, I was hit with a deep sense of despair – I was literally carrying the pain of others. I asked the Lord what this was all about. His love was letting me feel what was taking place in the lives of people so I could speak words of hope fueled by His compassion.

Jesus Revealed Himself and His Abundance in Their Lack so They Could Trust Him W/Their Future

Two thousand years ago a small group of fishermen, soon to become the first disciples of Jesus, were in a similar situation that some find themselves in today. Simon and his friends had fished all night and caught nothing. What worked before was not working. These men were about to be called to follow Jesus into a new season of life, but first the Lord needed to reveal Himself and His abundance to them in the midst of their current lack so they could trust Him with their future.

One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on Him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water's edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So He sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there." Luke 5:1-3

Simon and the other fishermen were doing what all fishermen do after fishing – they were cleaning and maintaining their nets. Just off in the distance were their empty boats. The empty nets and boats were silent testimonials that something wasn't working. As they scrubbed and patched their nets they were reminded of the depressing possibility of continued failure when they entered the water once again that evening.

When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, "Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish." Luke 5:4

Jesus was saying to Simon, "Simon, I want you to try one more time – this time I will be in the boat with you." The invitation to Simon was to go out into the deeper water and try again. Up to this point it was just Jesus and Simon a few feet off the water's edge, providing a floating podium from which Jesus could address the crowd. There was no faith in this gesture. It was just Simon being kind to the Rabbi.

When Jesus asked Simon to go farther out into the deeper water He was asking Simon to go back out to his place of failure and try again. When any of us fail, the last place we want to return is the place of our failure. The fear of returning to places of failure is real and palpable. We don't want to relive a divorce, a recession or the time a ministry came to an end. The world system says to avoid such places. God asks us to engage them one more time so He can heal us and move us forward into His preferred future for our lives.

Our Destinies are Waiting in the Deeper Water

The deeper water was important because in the natural realm this was where the fish were supposed to be. In the Spirit the deeper water is where the destiny of Simon was waiting. Jesus was asking Simon to trust Him as He led Simon back to a place that Simon felt was still empty of fish. Our destinies are never formed in places where we feel comfortable and in control. Destinies are formed in places where, unless God shows up, nothing will happen. This is the essence of a deep-water calling.

Can you imagine the conversations that were taking place on the shore? Simon's fishing friends might have said something like, "Where is Simon going? We just came in from an entire night on the water – the best time to fish – and we caught nothing. What is He thinking?" Whenever any of us follow Jesus back into those places of past failure, the people on the shore of our lives may never fully understand what they are seeing... (click here to read the rest of this word).

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