Stretched and Broken FULL

  • July 16, 2012
  • Blog

Just a few weeks ago, I posted a blog called Our Mission.  It personally challenged me to better understand how to stay focused on the one true mission of the church – making disciples – while caring for the orphan, the poor, and the vulnerable.  So, here are a few lessons I am learning so far from a passage in Luke and from some real life opportunities God is using to stretch and break our family.

“One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered,  “Master,we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.  But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. (Luke 5:1-11)

Jesus was always focused on His purpose. The Good News that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not die but have everlasting life.  The Good News that we are children of the Father, heirs of the King.  We have a grand purpose on this earth and an unfathomable inheritance that will last forever.  And we must tell others, no matter what our calling is. 

Jesus was focused on his very first mission, that of calling his disciples.  Though his “to-do” list was quite full, He still made time to speak the Word.  Verse 1 says, “the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God.”  

Lesson #1:  Always point others to the Word of God, even when it is exhausting and there is mounting pressure.

THEN, Jesus went on to finish his mission by getting into one of the boats of a local fisherman named Simon.  And what did He do?  HE KEPT TEACHING THE WORD!  The Gospel.  At the same time, Jesus intentionally entered the “world” of those called to become his disciples.  He got into their boat.  He identified with the one thing they knew.  FISH.  The Word became REAL to these simple, hard-working fishermen because at the heart of Jesus is compassion. 

 Lesson #2:  Get into the boat…be willing to roll up my sleeves, be inconvenienced, get messy, and do LIFE with those He is calling me to love sacrificially.

The word compassion comes from the Latin words, “pati” and “cum”… and it means “to suffer with”. The King was willing to smell like FISH in order to make much of the Father.  His mission required it.  Jesus understood that Simon and his friends had been laboring all night long, that their nets were EMPTY, that they were weary and in need of some really good news. 

“Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 

In their heads, this is probably the dialogue they were having at that moment: Hold on.  Just a minute.  Do you realize we’ve like been at this all.night.long, from one side of this lake to the other, and nothing.  Not one fish.  Seriously?  Just throw our nets out, again, into the deep?  Ok.  Might as well.  I mean, He is our Master afterall.

Now, that may be more what I would have thought in my head, and not actually what they thought.  However, the point is this:

Lesson #3: It is in the deep waters of faith that the most spectacular miracles happen.

Jesus always stretches our faith.  There is risk in obeying our Master…the risk of losing our way of doing things.  The risk of being unsuccessful.  The risk of looking foolish.  The risk of being crushed, over and over again.  The “deep waters” of a life marked by compassionate obedience empties you.  But when FAITH leads to action, the PROMISE is fulfilled. 

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.” (vs.6)

I love the word “break” in this verse.  On one hand it symbolizes just how FULL the nets of these fishermen became after they obeyed…after they embraced the risk.  They didn’t expect a catch or even ask for it, but Compassion gave it. 

But, here is where I wonder about this word “break”.  There are times when our God given portion is so overwhelming that it breaks us.  We burst open.  Oh, we may be blessing others and getting blessed in the spilling out, but all the same, we are in desperate need of mending. 

“They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them…” (vs. 7)

Lesson #4: Our breaking is meant to bring us to the end of ourselves, and reach out for help. 

The Body of Christ.  It is the responsibility of the church, and by church I mean the PEOPLE in the church, to bear one another’s burdens and bind together in love.  And even then, if we take our eyes off of the Master, “both boats” (will become) so FULL that they sink. 

As we journey in this life, may our focus always be on our identity, inheritance and mission as children of the Father.  May we be willing to take the risk of entering into the world of and suffering with, the poor, the weak and heavy burdened, the broken and the fatherless .  May we take the risk of sinking, in seasons of abundant fullness and in seasons of bursting brokenness.  May we be prepared to receive the signal for help from another sojourner along the way. 

Lesson #5:  And may we never stop falling at Jesus’ knees, looking into His eyes and hearing him say, “Do not be afraid…follow Me.” 

So how do we stay focused on the mission of the Gospel in the calling to care for the least of these? Just get into the boat.  And be stretched and broken – FULL.