Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink.
But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Within the past two to three weeks most students from grade school to college are back in session after their summer break. Even those of us no longer in school feel the shift in the air, a shift in focus as the days grow perceptibly shorter. While first-grade students might still feel the excitement of riding the bus with the big kids, and college freshmen are reveling in their new-found freedom, I find myself reluctant to embrace the change of season.
Last May I remember remarking to others that I had been feeling swamped. It was all good! God had been very generous, though dangerously so. Jesus was delighted and we were both having fun until I realized that the nets were straining and we were in danger of sinking. I managed to come ashore safely, taking good advantage of summer to recharge, but now find myself in a September slump.
Now what? Simon acted on what I was becoming aware of last spring. “They signaled their partners in the other boat to come help them.” James and John were his partners. A good reminder that Jesus does not ask me to do my work alone. God will continue be more generous than I can imagine, but we are called to share the adventure with others.
I also notice that “when they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything” — presumably all those fish — and followed Jesus. Perhaps the fruit of our labor with Jesus is less about the particular product produced or finite goals achieved, no matter how we measure them. Perhaps it is more about the nature and quality of relationships we develop with others along the way.
Who is watching, waiting and ready to be flagged down to join me in my labor as I embark on a “new school year”? What might I need to do to put my tasks and goals in the proper perspective?
Holy God, just today give me wisdom to know your will. Help me to lead the life you hope for me, a life pleasing to you in all its pieces. May I have your strength to bear all things joyfully, grateful that one day I may join the saints and with them inherit the light. May all those I love find forgiveness, freedom, and a place in your Kingdom forever. Amen.
—Prayer based on Colossians 1: 9-14Please share the Good Word with your friends!