March 4, 2008


"Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets."
Luke 5:5

If our reputation is cast by the company we keep, Jesus the Messiah gets off to a questionable start (see Luke 5:1-11). Ineffectual fishermen a kingdom do not make. Their abilities are most unimpressive, yet Jesus' determination to claim them, of all people, is remarkable: He looks over the masses to spot them, he climbs into their boat and not another, and he tells them where to cast out their nets. A wrangler or a wonderworker—we are not altogether certain. But Jesus leads them to the big haul.

The great crowd gathered there at the shore suggests that Jesus faced a defining decision on that shore: What kind of people would he call to do his work? Who would he draft to speak his words? How impressive would their résumés have to be before he gave someone a kingdom-job? "Master, we have fished all night and caught nothing. But if you say so …" Unsuccessful fisherman, perhaps. But they were willing, trusting. And maybe that is the feature of their faith Jesus most wanted to see.

Our Lord chooses to build his kingdom with those who choose to trust that God's surpassing power can overcome even their most anemic offerings. It is not what they can do, but what God can do through them that lands them the job, just as they landed those fish (see 1 Corinthians 2:1-5).

Faced with the many decisions of another Lenten week, will we fish all night for nothing or will we trust in the surprising, ample provision of the Lord? Will we also drop all our pale efforts and follow him? What shoreline choices will you make this week?