Thursday, April 30, 2009

Just Washing The Nets

"Simon answered, 'Master, we have worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.'" Luke 5:5

There are days when the challenges of living are manageable, and other days when everything seems overwhelming. I have been working hard on a research project, trying to understand what happens to clergy and their families when they suffer trauma. I originally thought that many people would object to being interviewed or filling out a survey. I have found out that the obstacles I face are mostly my own. I have had some health challenges in the past few months that have been keeping me from the research. When I get back on track, something else seems to fly at me and stall me out. Sometimes I have felt like Simon and his partners after a long night of fishing. A long season of empty nets.

Jesus calls his first disciples by getting in their boats. Jesus gets in the middle of their lives and occupations and brings abundance. After all their hard work and years of skill, the abundance comes when they put their nets out one more time at Jesus' command. When everything seems empty, Jesus comes and fills the nets to bursting. They first feel inadequate and undeserving in the face of Jesus and the huge catch. And then they give it all up and follow him at Jesus' invitation. They had, just hours before, given up all hope, and pulled in their nets for washing. Now they were packing it all up and leaving it behind to follow Jesus. Just when everything was completely failing, Jesus came and brought abundance and new direction.

I want to live today with the expectation of abundance and new direction. It is natural to get frustrated and give up, packing it in for lack of any catch. And yet, Jesus promises to find us in our failure and need and bring full nets and clear vision. So often I rely on my own strength, my own skills and capacities. I have found out, over and over, that it is when I rely on Jesus' and follow, then the nets are full and the way ahead is clear. Some days, the best thing to do is wash the nets and invite Jesus to come into our boats. May we today be encouraged by the hapless fisherman, who in giving up, gained the world. Who, in following Jesus found abundance and direction for us all. May we all be encouraged to follow Jesus and expect the abundance and direction from him.

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