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Experience Of Empty Nets
To Live for the World or to Live for Jesus
While mending the fishing nets one day, James may have questioned himself, “Should I follow Jesus?” A little further down the shoreline, his brother John and his father Zebedee just anchored the boat. As John sorted the catch of the day he may have asked himself, “Which is more important—the fishing business with my father, brother, and partners or Jesus’ call to follow Him?” Along that same Galilean shore, their friend Simon may have thought to himself, “Do I want to live out of a suitcase, spending most of my time away from my wife, my family, and friends, to minister to total strangers? Should I return to my responsibilities and a life built on tradition or should I take a risk in life and join the Master whose ways go against the grain of tradition?” It was one thing to follow Jesus in their spare time, it’s another thing to devote themselves to the Master and His mission 24/7. These fishermen knew the day was coming when they would have to make a choice: to live for the world or to live for Jesus.
As Jesus’ disciples, we will also enter into a brief period of personal soul-searching. This has always been a crucial part of the Master’s plan. He is purposeful in allowing us a break from ministry to think over our call to discipleship. Whether we are at work or on vacation, these thoughts have a way of brewing quietly in our being. The seeds He sowed deep within our souls needs time to germinate, take root, and grow in conviction and courage. Jesus wants to give us ample opportunity to sort out our lives, catch the bigger picture, and make concrete our commitment to follow Him.
While the fishermen returned to their respective homes to straighten out their personal affairs and take care of business, it was impossible for them to keep Jesus out of their minds. His authority and power never ceased to amaze them. Their world was never the same since. As they went out on their fishing boats and worked hard all night long, their time-out from ministry led them to an ‘experience of empty nets’ (Lk 5:1-11). Exhausted and frustrated, they were ripe and ready for an object lesson from the Master. Jesus’ miraculous catch of fish cast a net over their decision. They beached their boat and followed him.
Some of you today are probably standing on your own secular shorelines like these fishermen, contemplating between living for the world and living for Jesus. You have been out there in your secular sea of darkness, engaged in backbreaking labor, and coming up empty. Though you may be learned, skilled or experienced in your chosen vocation, like these fishermen, your backs remain sore, your hands remain calloused, and your nets remain empty. Deep within you, your heart rebels. It seeks to control its destiny. It demands to do its will. It desires to rule itself. Yet neither the ‘winds of compromise’ nor the ‘waves of indecision’ can drown out Jesus’ call in your life to follow Him. He is meeting you where you live and work. He is challenging your faith. He is calling you to a whole new life focus: “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people” (Lk 5:10).
Copyright 2009, Gicky Soriano. All rights reserved.