Maybe you consider yourself an expert in a particular field – sport, IT, astrophysics…or managing toddler behaviour.
As an expert in a particular area, it’s somewhat irritating if a newcomer tries to throw in their twopenn’orth on something they seemingly know nothing about.
In Luke 5, the disciples had been fishing all night without catching a kipper. Not one.
These guys weren’t novice fisherman who popped onto anglingdirect.com for the latest hobby novelty. They were pros: experts in their field (or sea).
So when Jesus, who wasn’t renowned for His fishing expertise, told them to push out into deep water, and let down their nets for a catch, I wonder if the disciples’ response was quite so accommodating as the text implies. I wonder if there was an eye-roll, a look of incredulity, a whisper of ‘Seriously?’ in their hearts.
Maybe I’m being unfair to the disciples, imposing my own tendency towards stubbornness on them.
Simon responds with far more humility than I would have:
‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.’
Because You say so.
Because You say so…I will trust..
…beyond what seems logical or reasonable…
Because You say so…
…I’ll trust more than my eyes can see.
Because YOU say so.
As I’ve been reading through Luke’s gospel, I notice it’s marked by two sets of people:
There are those who come to Jesus with humility and dependence, recognising that though they couldn’t do anything, Jesus could.
Those guys wouldn’t have appeared on the B.C 33 ‘Who’s Who’ list – they were a ragtag bunch – the disciples, the demonised man, the leper, the guys who cut a hole in the roof to get their friend to Jesus.
All of them came to Jesus knowing that just one word from Him could change everything. Their desperation brought humility. They chose to trust more than their eyes could see.
They chose to say ‘Because You say so’ with their words and their lives.
And they’re held in stark contrast with those too proud to accept that they too needed Jesus’ help – the religious elite: the Pharisees, the legal experts, the scribes.
Those guys were the experts in their field: the law. So much so, that they couldn’t see the wood of grace for the trees of law.
They were too busy nit-picking on the details to see the free gift of grace offered in Jesus.
And maybe they just didn’t want to see it.
Grace is offensive. There is no logic or reason. It can’t be contained in neat do’s and don’ts. No one is off-limits for receiving grace. Not me. Not you. And, major–note-to-self, not even any politician. Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton… whatever your political flavour … nobody is beyond the realm of God’s grace. There’s no ‘in’ or ‘out’ club, no cliques: grace always has its door open. And His name is Jesus.
They were too proud to say to Jesus, ‘Because You say so.’ Too proud to move from the shallow waters of law and try fishing in the deeper waters of grace.
I wonder how often I’m a nit-picker, missing out on the deeper waters of grace whilst I’m fussing over a legalistic distraction. I wonder how often I don’t even hear God tell me to ‘cast the net in deeper waters’ because I already think I know best.
We can’t receive grace when our fists are clenched and our hearts are stubborn. There is only room in our hands to pick up grace when our weapons of pride and independence have been laid down.
And we have to be prepared to accept that we don’t always know best, and we can’t always see the whole picture. It takes humility, faith and courage to say ‘Because you say so.’ But unless our hearts are postured in this way, we’ll never receive the full extent of God’s grace and nor will we experience the fullness of Kingdom fruitfulness – the huge catch of fish.
‘Because You say so’ …
Could those words become the hallmark of my life?
A slightly amended version of this post was used as a Saturday reflection on Rooted, a daily bible reading app.