Sunday, February 7, 2010
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. Luke 5:4-7
Lots of times in my life, I have experienced a sense of failure. Not matter how hard I fished, I came up empty handed. It happens to all of us, even in our fields where we might consider ourselves experts, or at least skilled and trustworthy, we can come up empty. We can all have days when we have applied our best and the outcome was the worst. Over a lifetime, it might feel as if we spend more time failing then succeeding, stumbling rather than walking and needy instead of abundant. Many of us, when these things happen, blame ourselves and consider ourselves the cause of the bad outcomes.
Despite skill and a life time of practice, Peter and the other fishermen came up empty. The had nothing to feed their families with. The village depended on their catch and they had nothing to show for all their hard work. Knowing Peter, he probably had some colorful language to say about a night of empty nets, a night of failure. Jesus saw them washing their nets, closing up shop, as it were, and climbed in their boat. When he was done teaching, he instructed them to fish again and they had such an abundance the boats were having a hard time staying afloat. God in the midst of us, brings abundance despite our frustration, failures, cursing and disappointment. God, who come into our boats, wants us to have a little faith and to keep trying - for abundance is coming, as sure as the rising sun.
Today, as we celebrate my Mom's 87th birthday, I want to recall all the times in my life when I felt surrounded by failure and yet God imposed love and new life and abundance happened. I want to celebrate the love and faithfulness of my Mom, who despite horrible challenges and huge disappointments, live with a sense of love and abundance everyday. Today, I pray we can all trust God, at least a little, and put down our nets once more, so that everyone might know the fullness of love.