“Jesus said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’“ – Luke 5:4
Imagine what Peter, a professional fisherman, thought when carpenter Jesus decided to dispense some free, unsolicited advice on fishing: “The first rule of fishing, Peter, is you’ve got to go to the fish. They generally don’t swim to you. To find the big fish you have to go out into deep water.”
Have you ever presumed to know more about abundance than God? At least once a day I say to God by my actions: “I know more about healing, more about forgiveness, more about money, more about the way things work than you do, God! Get off my back, and get out of my boat!” Seriously. I’m that unspiritual. I’m that reluctant to see what God might do through me.
That’s what Peter says to Jesus right after he catches more fish than he dreamed possible. You’d think Peter would sign Jesus up as a partner in the business. Instead Peter responds, “Get away from me Lord! I don’t deserve this. Don’t ever come fishing with me again!” Jesus ignores that and deepens Peter’s job into a bottomless vocation: to become a fisher of people.
Maybe what we are most afraid of is not scarcity but abundance. The scarcity of the shallows isn’t deeply fulfilling but it’s familiar. At least there, we can see the bottom.
God, the good and scary news is You want to give me more blessing than I think I deserve or can handle. Please, please, ignore my reluctance and push me out into deeper waters. Amen.
Matthew Laney is the Senior Minister of Asylum Hill Congregational Church, UCC, in Hartford, Connecticut.