Yesterday, I had the privilege of spending the day with the 5th graders! Their Bible lesson was based on Luke 5:1-11.
Push Out into Deep Water
5:1-3 Once when he was standing on the shore of Lake Gennesaret, the crowd was pushing in on him to better hear the Word of God. He noticed two boats tied up. The fishermen had just left them and were out scrubbing their nets. He climbed into the boat that was Simon's and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Sitting there, using the boat for a pulpit, he taught the crowd.
4 When he finished teaching, he said to Simon, "Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch."
5-7 Simon said, "Master, we've been fishing hard all night and haven't caught even a minnow. But if you say so, I'll let out the nets." It was no sooner said than done-a huge haul of fish, straining the nets past capacity. They waved to their partners in the other boat to come help them. They filled both boats, nearly swamping them with the catch.
8-10 Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell to his knees before Jesus. "Master, leave. I'm a sinner and can't handle this holiness. Leave me to myself." When they pulled in that catch of fish, awe overwhelmed Simon and everyone with him. It was the same with James and John, Zebedee's sons, coworkers with Simon.
10-11 Jesus said to Simon, "There is nothing to fear. From now on you'll be fishing for men and women." They pulled their boats up on the beach, left them, nets and all, and followed him. The Message
This familiar story held a new insight for the students and for me. In verse 8, Peter falls on his knees and says to Jesus, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" (NIV) You can hear the fear and the astonishment mixed in Simon Peter's voice, astonished at the catch, and fearful at the thought of who this Jesus must be. We talked about why Peter would react this way. The students were insightful and honest. They said that sometimes they feel the same way, not "good enough" to be in the presence of God. Sometimes this feeling is so pervasive that it keeps us from spending time in prayer or time reading our Bibles. We talked about how nothing could be further from the truth! God knows our very being. He formed us and knew us before the foundations of the world. And the simple truth is that He longs for us to spend time with Him. Psalm 139 gives us a glimpse into God's great love for us.
1-6 God, investigate my life;
get all the facts firsthand.
I'm an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back; I'm never out of your sight.
You know everything I'm going to say
before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you're there,
then up ahead and you're there, too-
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful- I can't take it all in! The Message
Janet Gjerde shared the Luke 5:1-11 passage at the last Board Meeting - the very same passage that the 5th grade had spent time examining. This time the lesson/devotional was focused on how fisherman were called as disciples because they had the patience to spend as much time mending their nets as they spent fishing. The fishermen knew the value of hard work and how sometimes there would be times of abundance and, despite the effort, times when the nets would be empty.
We need to stay close to Jesus at all times. As we remain close to Him, we can trust Him to work through us as we do all that He's called us to do.