Scripture: Luke 5:1-11
Reflection: Is it just me, or are the soon-to-be-disciples a little grudging in this story? In the other gospels that contain it (Matthew and Mark), they pretty easily drop everything to follow Jesus when he calls. John adds more detail. The fishermen have been working all night and have caught nothing. They’re tired. They’ve cleaned up their tools and put things away. They’re ready to go home. And here comes this Jesus, asking them to push him out into deeper water so he can keep on teaching. And then, Jesus asks them to throw their nets back into the water where they’ve been working much longer than he has even been there. Their response sounds an awful lot like the one I imagine I would give “We’ve working all night, but if you say so….”. I’d probably have added an eye roll.
Are any of us really at our best when we are tired? What about when we’ve tried and failed? What about when the night has been long and frustrating and we’re worried about our bottom line? What is noteworthy to me about this story is the fact that Jesus meets these tired, stressed out, frustrated people where they are, asks for their trust, and calls them anyway. The disciples – at least here in John – don’t follow Jesus without a question or without a thought to what they’re leaving behind. Dare I say it, they follow him while muttering under their breath about how they know better about what to expect and what is possible. The God of Abundant Life surprises them anyway – and that is where the journey begins.
If you’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, you’re not disqualified from discipleship. If you’re disgruntled or discontent, if you have tried and failed, if you’ve forgotten what it is like to expect great things out of your same-old-same-old, you’re still in the game. If you’re tired, you’re not alone. God is with you in Christ, inviting you to trust, and calling you anyway. Even if the only response you can muster today is “if you say so,” that’s enough, and God is patient and persistent and wants you to take part – and will meet you more than halfway so that you might join in. Thanks be to God for that kind of grace. Amen.
Prayer: Give me an extra measure of your grace, O God, that I might enjoy your surprising goodness today – even if I don’t feel like it. Amen.
Author: Anna Dickson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].