Because You Say So

Last night Marilyn and I were watching the baseball game. A commercial appeared, one that included a snippet of a song that contained that oldie, but goodie, that says when someone says "jump," the correct response is to ask, "How high?" I turned to Marilyn and told her that in the past I have sometimes gotten myself into trouble when someone told me to "jump" (to do something just because he or she said so). My response has often not been, "How high?" but "Why?"

So this morning as I was reading Luke 5, I remembered our conversation of the night before. In the first eleven verses of the chapter, the story is told of Jesus borrowing a fisherman's boat so that He could more comfortably teach the crowd of people who had gathered to hear Him. At the end of His discourse the Scriptures tell us: "When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, 'Put out into the deep water and let down the nets for a catch'" (5:4).

That's the "jump" part.

Now, this is an itinerant Rabbi telling a bunch of experienced fishermen how to do their jobs. This was a perfect opportunity for Simon, already identified by the Lord as the one with the "mouth" to tell Jesus to look after His own business and leave the fishing to the experts.

From Simon's response we might almost think that was what was coming. "Simon answered, 'Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything...'" (5:5). The clue to what is to come is the word "Master." Simon has some idea of Who this is that is giving the command to "jump." He continues with, "But because you say so, I will let down the nets."

This current period of my life seems fraught with false starts, things that seem promising only to end in dead ends, disappointments, and impossibilities—sort of like fishing all night without catching anything. The tendency (and it has come to mind a few times) is to forget the "fishing" and "clean the nets" and stop making the effort.

Then the lesson comes along.

Jesus says "jump" and Simon "jumps." There had been no catch in those waters all night (ideal fishing time) so why should there be any catch during the heat of the day (not so ideal fishing time)? Because Jesus said so, that's why! He's the Master, and He knows.

We know the end of the story—a massive catch of fish, and a repentant fisherman who, if he didn't know Who Jesus was before the catch, he certainly knew afterwards!

Waiting for my "catch" isn't easy. J. Oswald Sanders shares a story about the preacher, Phillips Brooks, who was discovered pacing his office floor in high frustration. When a friend asked what was going on, Brooks replied, "I am in a hurry and God is not." (Enjoying Intimacy With God, page 102).

The point, for me at least, is that it isn't time to haul the boat ashore, clean the nets, and stop trying. Well, cleaning the nets isn't a bad idea. Waiting time is a time to renew, replenish, refocus, and repair so that when the Lord comes along and says "jump," I'm ready.

I don't advocate jumping for just anyone—that would be foolish in the extreme. But like Simon, when Jesus says so, then jump, no questions asked. Trust and obey—there really IS no better way.


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