Choice to choose


“Just get to the point … “

One “peeve” in particular. When someone is stuck in their own head as to when precisely “this” happened – what day, time, place, minute … Grrrrrr!  I don’t care! Just tell me what “this” is – perlease!

Reading today’s verses I found myself saying the opposite. You have left bits out. It doesn’t make sense. I want more than the headlines.

“Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 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 signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’ For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.’ When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.” Luke 5:1-11

The obvious “headline” is netting the first of the disciples.  The famous “fishers of men” phrase we use.  Today I got stuck way before that. Way before!

“Simon answered, ‘Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.’ Because that is preceded by: “… he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.”

Now hang on a mo …

The nets are being washed. The fishermen had “gone out of them”. So Jesus takes advantage and does the preaching and teaching in an empty boat (save for Simon). And then asks Simon to “let down your nets” and Simon does … The nets are not in the boat …  Someone has left out something here!!

And my God Soft Hands Jesus stirred.  And whispered of John – how he closed his gospel: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” John 21:25

And then GSHJ stood up, yawned and stretched …

“You know Paul, isn’t that just so “human”? When you are passionate about something you can talk for hours. But when you write something down you have to be concise – or  others will feel the weight of the book and move on (“War and Peace” springs to mind).  So “passionate writing” often misses out the trivia. Like here. Do you want to know what really happened?

After I had finished speaking, Simon drove me back to the shore. The crowd was  drifting away as crowds do when the “turn” has finished – when there are no more encores – when it is business as usual again. So I hung around watching the fishermen work. You ever done that in Turkey, in Plymouth … Yes … ?  Knew so.

Anyway, they stashed the nets back in the boats. Rolled a ciggie or two. Brewed a brew. Tidied up and sat down for a chinwag.  And it was then that I suggested they make one more haul.  And Simon, bless Him – who had sat beside me as I had teached and preached – agreed  (with reservations). Something I had said to the crowd had also touched him. So off we went – back out onto the water (again).  Now imagine the whole bible written like that. Every last detail added … ? 

I know you … You would be screaming inside (even more than you do already). You would be screaming “Get to the Point!” I know you. I know you get “distracted” in your internal screaming. 

Have you ever thought that your “distraction” can also be “resting in me”?  Because today you were willing to rest.  Again.  That means a lot to me.  Thank you.”

And as we talked what came through was this.  I can be as passionate as I want about my relationship with GSHJ. But when I talk to others – how will they receive me (and my Lord)?  He pointed to one small detail in these verses. “When he had finished speaking … ” And what became clear was this.

Even Jesus would have bored the crowds to death with His passion if He never finished speaking – if He never allowed the crowds to drift away.

And as we snuggled this morning that affects me deeply. Even Jesus!!

I have not heard many tell me that “even Jesus” can bore people – that He encouraged them to all “drift away”. How loving is that? How sincerely passionate and loving is that?

His relationship with His God comes second to My relationship with My God – it is always my choice to choose.

So just how often is that “taught” from the pulpit today? How often are we encouraged to walk away? How often are we taught that “that” is what Jesus also taught?  I don’t hear that very much.

I think of one particular pre-packaged church “program” that concluded with: “You now believe. We have shown you the evidence. You have joined us.  Welcome.”  It was an extended sales pitch and it made my skin crawl.

 AND He used that in ways the “program” never ever imagined  🙂

And all of this because Luke “left bits out”.  And because GSHJ always fills the gaps (when I allow).

Is that why Simon accepted the “let the nets down” invitation? I know I do more and more when He invites the “crazy stuff”.  I trust more and more because I know it is always my choice to say yes or no.

But how often do we “encourage” others to walk away … ?

Now that is a new thought!

Footnote: years ago when I was redundant (one time) I tried to start a self-improvement training company called “Choice to Choose”.  It floundered and I chose to move on and leave “all that” behind.  But has He … ?

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4 thoughts on “Choice to choose

  1. “How often are we encouraged to walk away? How often are we taught that “that” is what Jesus also taught?”
    Oh, I love this idea, Paul. Too often we are spoon fed like infants, even when we are not ready. Some of us keep our mouths shut tight struggling against the spoon. Some of us are fed incorrect formula and it sits spoiling in our tummies because our bodies and spirits know it isn’t right.
    If only we were taught to walk away, left to ponder and wonder, to discover on our own what the Spirit will teach us, how Jesus might guide us or how the Father will embrace us. It would be a much more lovely way to form a relationship. A union of love instead of an arranged marriage.

    • “A union of love instead of an arranged marriage.”

      What a wonderful image, Susan – thank you. And for those who believe in arranged marriages – that “they work” just as ll (or even better) than “love” … Most of the arranged marriages seem to take work and time, compromise and balance – but mostly time. And if we all gave that to each other and our Lord – then a union of love could be so much more possible! Maybe.

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