I subbed for the Sunday School teacher this past week.
I’m pretty sure I get tapped for that kind of thing just so they don’t have to deal with me heckling the sub. It happens a lot when we’re in Isaiah, actually. I have a reputation. I’m okay with that. This year, we’re in the New Testament; they don’t anticipate too much rowdiness from my corner.
So, this last lesson had to do with Jesus meeting up with Simon Peter, James, and John, and His calling them to be disciples, to leave their nets and follow Him. Within the passages are the obvious historical things: Christ assembling those who would help Him in his ministry, and carry on after He was finished.
Reading it several times, the thought stuck with me: these fishermen had a pretty steady life. They knew what to expect every day, and could count on some constants. They would rise, and fish. Sometimes, they would catch fish. Sometimes, not so much. They would go home. They would sleep, and do it again. This life of a fisherman had some safety to it.
Then here comes Christ, and He challenges their safety. Put out from shore again, even though your nets were empty last time. Believe. Change. Leave your nets and follow Me. Give up the safety of your former life, and I can give you so much more.
And they straightway left their nets to follow Him.
The symbol of an empty net kept coming back, every time I tried to steer my thoughts toward the other very valid concepts in the Sunday School lesson manual.
Those nets were empty when Christ arrived. All their labor, all their effort, all their toil and desire and skill, had profited them absolutely nothing. The nets were empty. Their “safety” was an illusion.
Christ arrives in our lives and challenges us to leave the illusory safety of the nets we’ve been casting. He asks us to put out into deep waters, to trust Him, to leave behind what we thought we knew we wanted. He asks us to take the risk: to follow Him, with no promise of ease or riches or people to applaud. He promises to replace our empty nets with more bounty than we ever thought possible.
But first, we have to leave our empty nets.
Scripture has fact, and scripture has symbols… I am amazed every single time, and I am grateful.