“Put out into deep water and
Let down the nets for a catch.”
Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked
hard all night and haven’t caught
anything. But because you say so
I’ll let down the nets.
When they had done so, they caught
such a large number of fish that their
nets began to break.”
Jesus’ words here are simple. So simple they are tottering on stupid.
Simon may have thought, Who do you think you are Jesus? Put out into deep water? What do you think we’ve been doing all night, fishing on land?
If he did think those words, he didn’t let his thoughts rule his actions. Instead he responded, “But because you say so, I’ll let down the nets.”
Simon was probably tired that morning after fishing all night. It’s possible he was frustrated, grumpy and wondering how he would pay the month’s bills with an empty net. Yet Jesus’ words stirred enough wonder, enough hope, and carried enough weight that he took the bait and did what Jesus suggested no matter how crazy it sounded. No matter if it got sneers from the other fisherman. No matter if the net turned up empty again. He did what Jesus said…because He said so.
Jesus’ words to us often aren’t some crazy, off the wall, magic pill to catch what we’re fishing for. Now they can be. He certainly holds the power to do that. But often, He offers a simple suggestion, with a fresh new perspective.
Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.
The result of listening to Jesus’ words caused the nets to break, and immediately Simon fell at Jesus’ feet in worship and awe saying, “Go away from me Lord; I am a sinful man.”
Simon changes from worn out and frustrated to humbled and unworthy after standing in the Presence of the Lord.
We see a similar encounter like this in John 21:1-14.
Now, Jesus has been crucified. He has risen from the grave and has appeared to his disciples. Thomas has touched Jesus’ hand and side, realizing He is the risen Lord. And after all this Simon, now called Peter, decides he’s going fishing.
Maybe he just wanted to get away and enjoy his favorite hobby…
Or could his recent denial of Jesus at the crucifixion played any part in his decision to pick up his old trade again?
Either way, Peter and a few others grabbed their fishing nets and hit the lake only to…catch nothing all night. In the wee hours of the morning, guess who decides to join the group of friends. Yep, Jesus himself.
“Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No.” They answered.
Jesus said, “Throw your net on the right side
of the boat and you will find some.”
Again, Jesus gives a simple request.
And when the disciples did what Jesus said they were “unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.”
What does it look like to “throw our nets on the right side of the boat”?
Have you ever fished all night…or all week…all month…all year…and caught, well, nothing? Do you hear a voice in your head that suggests something ludicrously simple like cast your net in deep water? Or try the right side of the boat?
What does that look like in our life?
For the Christian business man (or woman) it might mean abiding by a different set of standards. Adam of Southwest Metal Systems is going to share his story of what it meant to throw his net on the right side of the boat…
A few years ago we were at a cross road in our business. Actually it looked more like staring at the Red Sea. Pharaoh’s chariots, dressed in vendors we owed money to, were closing in on us and one day we couldn’t run from them any longer. We had reached the end of land and there was nowhere else to go. God either had to part the waters or show me how to walk on them.
One day I gathered my team together and said, “Guys I’ve done all I know to do. If we make it out of this it’s not because of anything I have done. Only God Himself can save this company.”
During this time I really leaned into the Lord and asked Him to show me what He wanted me to do. Over and over I heard God impress upon me to get completely out of debt. Not only that, but stop taking on new debt. Essentially my instructions were, You either have the money to pay for your purchases or you don’t purchase them.
It sounded a lot like Jesus’ words to Peter:
Put out into deep water.
Throw your net on the right side of the boat.
In my mind I was thinking, No more loans for business Lord? Don’t you know it takes money to make money? We’ve been casting all night, what difference does it make which side we cast from?
The difference is a few million miles of faith.
Taking on debt was a way for me not to trust the Lord. Debt was a barrier between me and God. It was putting me in charge. But there’s no freedom in it. If God had called me to move to Kenya and serve Him there, I couldn’t go because I was bound to my debt.
I heard it said once that debt just delays decisions you know you need to make now. So now when crunched up against this boundary line, I ask myself, “What decisions am I delaying that I know need to be made now?”
When you go from relying on the bank for funds, to paying for everything in cash, it requires a new mentality. It challenges people’s mindset because it’s foreign and nobody operates like that. It shakes to the core people’s belief about the way business is supposed to be done.
I knew that getting our team to buy-in was risky. But I couldn’t shake God’s calling on me personally, and as the person He appointed to lead this company, I knew our team members had to understand and agree with my stance. As time has gone on, the respect level for what God has done in our business is evident to those around us. And it’s not patting me on the back, it’s praising the Lord.
Adam’s ingenuity could not and did not turn our company around. Our team has seen God provide for us. Now there is 100% buy in. When we look at buying new equipment, our team knows if we don’t have the money to buy it, we won’t buy it. And that gives them confidence that we’re not digging our self in a hole that we can’t pay for. I also hope it inspires out team to not be bound personally.
Practically it has meant we don’t grow as fast as we think we should. I think we need things in order to grow. I struggle with the constant battle within me of how to grow within the parameters God has placed on me. As far as the world goes we’re in the perfect financial condition. But I can’t just go buy the land I want and the equipment I want. He has to provide the resources.
This forces me to trust God’s guidance in the things I don’t see. I have to trust that if He doesn’t provide the money for what I think we need, it’s not what was best for us at that time. And I’ve found that when we seek provision from Him rather than from a loan, we see Him either lesson the need or miraculously provide. Half the time we realize we don’t need as much as we thought we did. And other times we say, Wow, where did this money come from!
Usually a business is winding down when they pay off all their debt. But God challenged me that we’re going to grow and not take on any new debt. And it’s evident it’s the Lord’s hand that in this and I’m just along for the ride! I’m thankful for this boundary line, because I think that without it, I’d be chasing the stuff of this life and would miss out on the relationship I have with my kids.
Simple command. Profound results.
So where are you? What do you learn from these passages? What are you fishing for? Have you caught any fish? What do you sense the Lord asking you to do? Does it sound too simple, maybe even bordering on stupid? How will you respond?
The Thread of Redemption exists to point out the fingerprints and footprints of God in the brokenness of life.
Through people’s stories we will highlight the thread of redemption weaved through-out the fabric of our lives. Sometimes we are not able to see Him with the naked eye, but with just the right tools we can say, Look, He’s right there! He has been here all this time. I just couldn’t see Him!