Summary: It’s hard to trust and obey, but man, what a ride!
Overtime Pay on the Mad Mouse
I had a job once working as an inventory control analyst in a factory. Like most factories, this one operated round the clock with 3 shifts. I was one of three analysts, 1 per shift. We worked the swing shift. 2 weeks on each shift.
I liked 2nd shift, get up at 7am, all day to get things done. You know I’m not a morning person so 1st shift was okay, but 3rd shift, 11 p.m.-7am, the graveyard shift, that was the worst. Hate is such a terrible word but I really, really, really didn’t like working that shift.
And if working 11-7 wasn’t bad enough, sometimes one of the others would call off and the big boss (the materials manager, not God) would come down and say, “You’re not done yet. Bob called off and I need you to work over 4 hours today”. And you’re screaming in your head, “Noooo! Bob, you big jerk!” Or something similar.
All you want to do is go home climb into your nice warm, soft bed and sleep because it’s been a long, rough night. You’ve gotten all your paperwork filled out, written up all the orders, & mentally prepared yourself for the end of the shift. But then you find out you’re not quite done yet. The bed and sleep will just have to wait.
I think many of us can relate to Peter. Had a rough night, tying up the loose ends, cleaning his net, can’t wait to go home. Jesus finishes his sermon and says to Peter, “Hey let’s go fishing!” What He actually said was, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch!” And Peter’s response? “Nooooo!” Peter probably would have liked to told Jesus, “Hey you want to fish, go right ahead. I’m going home and going to bed.”
Now, keep in mind Jesus is a carpenter and Peter is a fisherman. Jesus knows how to build things and Peter knows how to catch fish. Peter has worked all night and not caught any fish. What Jesus asks him to do goes against everything he knows about fishing. It makes absolutely no sense. Peter has lived in the town by this lake his whole life. He has fished on this lake for years. He knows where to catch fish and when you can catch them.
Jesus says, “Let’s go fishing.” Or, “I need you to work overtime.” I can imagine the look on Peter’s face and what he’s thinking. “I’ve just finished cleaning and repairing my nets. Now this carpenter wants me to throw my CLEAN net back into the water where there are NO fish”.
But what is Jesus REALLY asking him to do? He’s asking him to trust.
Do you trust me enough to obey?
Do you trust me enough to throw you clean nets into dirty water?
Do you trust me enough to try again-even though you’d rather go home?
Do you trust me enough to do what I ask-even though it makes no sense?
Trust and obey! That’s what Jesus was really asking.
Peter offers a small objection, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing” but then resigns himself to the fact he’s stuck there for 4 more hours and says, “Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.”
Peter tells Jesus that, common sense aside; he will trust and obey him. And that is just what he does. He looks beyond his own fishing expertise, beyond the arrogance that he doesn’t need anyone’s help in doing his job. He did what Jesus asked – this is the next step of faith – obedience, when it doesn’t make sense.
This isn’t unusual in the faith growing business that God is in. He has a rather interesting habit of asking those who listen to do something that doesn’t make sense.
Noah was told to build an ark to hold all the different animals in the world because God was going to flood the earth, even though it had never even rained before. That’s not really sensible is it?
Joshua was told by God to march around the walls of Jericho for six days in silence and on the seventh day to march around the wall seven times in silence and then to blow the trumpets. – Not exactly a sensible approach to taking a walled city by siege.
Namaan was leprous and Elisha told him to dip himself seven times in the Jordan River to be healed. The Jordan isn’t much more than a muddy creek. Nonsense!
God is in the business of growing faith. It would be nice if faith were like an escalator; but in reality it is more like a roller coaster.