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“From now on, you will be fishing for people”

July 15, 2023

Daily Scripture

Luke 5:1-11

1 One day Jesus was standing beside Lake Gennesaret when the crowd pressed in around him to hear God’s word. 2 Jesus saw two boats sitting by the lake. The fishermen had gone ashore and were washing their nets. 3 Jesus boarded one of the boats, the one that belonged to Simon, then asked him to row out a little distance from the shore. Jesus sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4 When he finished speaking to the crowds, he said to Simon, “Row out farther, into the deep water, and drop your nets for a catch.”
5 Simon replied, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and caught nothing. But because you say so, I’ll drop the nets.”
6 So they dropped the nets and their catch was so huge that their nets were splitting. 7 They signaled for their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They filled both boats so full that they were about to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw the catch, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Leave me, Lord, for I’m a sinner!” 9 Peter and those with him were overcome with amazement because of the number of fish they caught. 10 James and John, Zebedee’s sons, were Simon’s partners and they were amazed too.
Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid. From now on, you will be fishing for people.” 11 As soon as they brought the boats to the shore, they left everything and followed Jesus.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

If we only had the stories we read yesterday (Matthew 4 and Mark 1), we might think Jesus called total strangers who instantly dropped everything to follow him. Luke’s gospel made it clear that it took more than one short conversation. He showed that Jesus and Simon knew each other before today’s story (cf. Luke 4:38-39). And today’s story also showed that Jesus’ vision always reached farther than just the one area that many of them had known all their life. He asked those first disciples to “push into the deep water” on the Sea of Galilee, a hint of the ultimate task he had for them. In the end, “fishing for people” carried them into the deep waters of a whole world filled with suffering and spiritual hunger.

  • Jesus was a rabbi, a religious teacher. Peter and his partners caught fish for a living. Why should “pros” like them listen when Jesus said, “Row out farther, into the deep water, and drop your nets for a catch” (verse 4)? They agreed “because you say so.” Have you ever had a sense that Jesus was calling you to something that was more than “usual” or “logical”? Were, or are, you open to saying, “Because you say so, Lord”? “When Simon Peter saw the catch, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Leave me, Lord, for I’m a sinner!” (verse 8) When did you most vividly realize “This ‘God’ business is way more than just human common sense”? In that moment, did you feel any fear like Peter expressed in this passage? Did you take in Jesus’ reassurance: “Don’t be afraid” (verse 10)?  How has realizing who God is, who you are, and who God wants to be in your life changed things for you?

Lord Jesus, you are my heavenly friend and brother—but you are also Lord of the universe. As I love and trust you, help me to also hold you in awe and respect. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Kari Burgess

Kari Burgess

Kari Burgess serves as Experience Project
Manager on the Resurrection Experience Team. She
joined the staff in 2012 after years in the corporate world. She served 9 years on the ShareChurch Ministry Team before moving into her current role, and wrote this blog post in 2017. She married her college sweetheart, Matt, in 1996. They love spending time together with their two daughters and supporting them in music, theater, social and academic adventures. Kari enjoys running with her neighborhood “crew” and hiking.

My husband, Matt, has enjoyed coaching our daughters’ sports teams. As an assistant basketball coach, helping at soccer practice or becoming the softball head coach, he has always been a part of both girls’ sports teams. But our younger daughter found her place in dance, not sports. And as our high school daughter got older, she chose to focus on soccer and theater and had to drop softball and basketball. Which ended Matt’s coaching “career.” It was just as well. With all of the girls’ activities and me taking a full-time position at the church, we are B-U-S-Y.

Then, two years ago, our good friend and neighbor David called. His son’s basketball team needed a coach. (Our neighbor travels weekly for work, as do several other parents from their team.) David knew how much Matt loved coaching our girls and asked him to consider being head coach for his son’s team. I literally laughed when he told me (super supportive, huh?). I completely dismissed it–said something like, “Why would they think you would even CONSIDER volunteering to coach a team that your child isn’t on?” No way there was time. And with a group of crazy 4th grade boys? Matt had other reservations. Did he have the coaching skills needed? And it would take precious time away from being with our daughters.

A few days later, he said he couldn’t shake the feeling he was supposed to coach this team. Was he feeling a nudge from Jesus? He felt like Peter must have felt when Jesus asked him to get in his boat and cast his nets again after a long night of fishing with no catch. “I don’t have time or energy for this. But because you say so…” It meant a lot to him our friend had enough confidence in him to ask for his help. And if he didn’t coach, they simply wouldn’t have a team.

Do you remember the ‘70’s movie The Bad News Bears? The Thunderbirds were like that–not much talent, little discipline or experience. Matt would come home from practice exhausted, sometimes exasperated. Getting these kids to run even the simplest drills was a big challenge. Trying to teach strategy or a set play? Forget it. That year, the Thunderbirds lost every single game in the lowest division. I went to the last game–and it was hard to watch.

Then I went to the pizza party. One by one, the boys came to our table to thank Coach Matt. Parents were thanking him, telling me how grateful they were for his sacrifice and willingness to help with the team. At home, Matt opened a card from one parent who told him what a difference he had made in their son’s life. His confidence had soared, and they could see a big difference in his behavior at home and school. The record book didn’t show it, but these boys had achieved a lot. They gained much more than basketball skills. They learned about teamwork, perseverance, goal setting, the value of hard work and gained self-confidence, discipline and respect for others.

Matt coached the Thunderbirds again last year. Guess what? They won all their regular season games! It still wasn’t easy. He would come home from practice with no voice and exhausted, but the pride and joy on those boys’ faces after each win made it worth it. At the year-end pizza party, the boys again earnestly thanked Coach Matt, and the parents told me what a great coach my husband is. How much he cares and brings out the best in his players. How he develops their skills, teaches team work and gives them a sense of accomplishment.

This summer we were driving in the neighborhood and one of his players was shooting hoops in his driveway. We stopped the car to say hello and he said, “Can’t wait for basketball season, Coach!” Looks like Matt is in for another year. It is a big consideration. But now, he’s a less reluctant disciple. What is Jesus nudging you to say “yes” to?

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.