Rev Michael Barnes- 10/2/19
‘Put out into Deep water’
‘Simon, put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch,’ said Jesus.
‘Master, we’ve worked all night long but caught nothing.’ (Luke 5:5)
Alternatively, Simon might have said, ‘I’ve worked all night and need some sleep;’ ‘I do know what I’m doing Jesus, there’s nothing out there.’
Simon echoes the hidden cry of many in the church who’ve worked long and hard in the vineyard of the Lord, sustained by the hope that somewhere, somehow, their labour will bear fruit, and worked when good sense dictated a break when bodies ached and minds became numb.
It can be numbing when all that’s left is a sense of duty.
This text recognises that way of engaging life, and then asks us to consider stepping apart from it, and ‘put out into the deep.’
Be warned – the first step into the deep places us in the middle of a gap.
Debie Thomas, a U.S. writer who offers excellent insights into NT texts, says of this moment, ‘Sometimes, I feel like I’m suspended between two poles of being entirely washed out and then being overwhelmed by grace. Is it just me, or do we all live in this gap between weariness and hope, defeat and faith, resignation and obedience?
A sense of duty and commitment are valuable. However, the church has overemphasised them, neglecting the importance of stepping aside every so often, for a rest, or even to prepare for unexpected moments of grace.
We have this strange predilection for doing things over and over again, even and especially when they don’t bear fruit.
Jesus said, ‘Put out into the deep.’