Robert and Rosalind continue with Part Three of Put Out into the Deep.
Like the disciples, we often feel stretched as we head out into the deep out of our depth and our comfort zone – but it is not in the shallows that we get to know Jesus best. He is going ahead of us and as we seek Him He attends to all that needs attending to – and in the process He entrusts us with our own particular calling, which interacts perfectly with our circumstances as well as our temperament, skills and capacities. There is nothing in the least coincidental about it.
The music continues the beautiful Schubert impromptu that we played at the opening of this presentation.
It is so important for us to be willing to step outside the boat when Jesus calls us, just as Peter would do some time later on; but on this occasion, it was more a case of stepping into the boat and setting out in the direction the Lord was indicating!
So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed Him. That’s where courage really cuts in.
Nothing will come out if we lack the courage to obey what He says in matters big and small. It’s putting our faith into practice that the next phase of the Lord’s plans starts to open up and things begin to happen. There is nothing more empty than someone who has received a call from the Lord, for example to the mission field, but for whatever reason has done nothing about it.
This episode is a wonderful example both of trust and of call; for this was the place where Peter heard the call that turned the lives of these young men completely upside down. Everyone watching by the lakeside was astonished. The people who had heard Jesus’ teaching would have hung around to see what would happen next. God was working on many different levels, and speaking to hearts about faith and obedience rather than just about fish. What he is doing in our lives now impacts on many other people.
Put out into the deep with Him
It is not in the shallows that we get to know Him best; even though we will often feel stretched as we head out into the deep and out of our depth. He has some big surprises lined up for us, just as He had for Peter with this outsize catch.
But what about those times when what we are going through is not just a single night without landing any fish but a long hard series of times when we have toiled hard but not brought in a catch for weeks months or even years?
Every pastor, prophet, and intercessor has surely known this experience just as real life deep sea fishermen do. Perhaps the temptation comes to remain on the shore wringing our hands, too deflated to launch out again into the deep. If so let’s remember this passage and connect with its truth. God is not fazed by lakes from which all fish appear to have fled, any more than He is afraid of deep water or high winds. He is still going ahead, and as we commit matters to Him in fervent prayer, He will respond to whatever it is that needs attending to.
The Lord sealed this time by giving Peter a wonderful promise “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” The Greek word used here means to ‘capture alive.’ Jesus was speaking of a continual capturing of people’s hearts for the kingdom of God, not a one off event. There is no quota of blessing we can ever exhaust, no limits to what He can do.
One call from the Lord, one touch from His Spirit changes our life’s direction and our heart motivation. It is the most precious, powerful, and distinctive moment in our lives; it is not something we will find advertised in the Job Centre; it comes from the heart of eternity, from the throne room of God, although it interacts perfectly with our timescale, our circumstances and our temperament skills and capacities. There is nothing in the least coincidental about it.
What is it that the Lord has asked you to do? What boat is He asking you to step out into? What has He taken hold of you for? Take time to think this through. May the outworking be strong, successful and continuous!