Nets for Sale?
I’ve fallen freshly in love with the story of Jesus meeting up with a discouraged fisherman on the Sea of Galilee in Luke 5. After a night of using every ounce of energy to gather an acceptable catch of fish, Simon is exhausted. With his boat docked back on the northwest shore of the sea, he begins to arduous process of cleaning and mending his nets. This is where he and the Lord meet up – Jesus teaching people and Simon washing a net.
Both of them had been looking for a catch, albeit of a varying species, but their success rate had proven very different. Simon caught nothing but Jesus was being surrounded on all sides by a “crowd that was pressing in on Him to hear the Word of God” Luke 5:1. Simon would have been listening too, you know – his attention half divided between the nets laid in front of him and the echoing voice of the One He’d heard so much about.
Washing nets. . .
This was a picture of a man defeated, discouraged and frustrated. It was symbolic of an abandoned effort and purpose. An all night fishing trip had yielded nothing and so He’d ended His excursion and settled for washing his nets. We might be tempted to be hard on Simon for giving up instead of pressing on, but when Jesus spots this dejected fisherman, He didn’t induce a guilt trip for his lack of determination, rather He sees Simon’s abandoned boat as a perfect position to sit and teach those on the shore.
He got into one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the land. Then he sat down and was teaching the crowds from the boat. – Luke 5:3-4
You see, washing nets isn’t all that bad. While it meant that Simon was finished fishing for the day, the activity pointed to an expectation of his intention to get back into the boat tomorrow. If I’d spend all day fishing and had caught nothing, I would have posted my nets of Ebay to get rid of them! I certainly wouldn’t have been tending to them on the shore in preparation for another day. But fishing was what Peter was wired to do. It was in His blood and so even after a day of discouragement, He couldn’t completely desert the task at hand.
Washing nets is not the same as selling them.
You been washing nets lately? Some task, calling, purpose or pursuit been more difficult than you anticipated? Have you run to shore frustrated, spent and overwhelmed and maybe even felt a tinge of remorse for “washing your hands” and mind clean of the irritation? The enemy would have you feel guilty for throwing in the towel. He’ll tell you that you’re a quitter and you’ll never be of good use ever again.
Be encouraged my friend. You have nothing to be ashamed of.
You haven’t sold your net. You were just washing it.
And if you can’t quite imagine setting your “net” out on the curb with Sunday’s leftovers for garbage pickup, it’s probably because, like Simon, a little frustration isn’t enough to quell the passion and the dogged intered God has placed in you for . . . that person. That career. That ministry. That relationship. That opportunity.
So clean your nets as much as you need to. Just don’t sell them.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a break – even one that’s a result of disappointment. Jesus has a way of seeing your empty boat and clean nets and still recognize the tinge of passion that remains in your heart. He’ll use them in a way that will stun you and encourage others.
Get back in the boat tomorrow. He’ll get in with you and the catch you’ll haul in together will be stunning.
PS. . . How’s your first week of The Resolution Revolution book club going? Remember you can email us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll look forward to chatting with you LIVE at 10am this Thursday.