In Lk 5:1-11, Jesus preached to a crowd of people on the shores of the lake of Gennesaret. The people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, Lk 5:1. And since there were two unoccupied ships nearby, the Lord entered into the one owned by Simon, and “prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land”, Lk 5:3. Then Jesus sat down and taught the people out of the ship.
Following his sermon, the Lord said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep…”. And the rest of the story from there involves a tremendous catch of fish and a call to catch men.
Everything that follows in Lk 5:4-11 is the result of one simple request and one simple response. Jesus said, “thrust out a little”. And Peter obliged.
During the missions conference, we have the opportunity to hear from God as the men who preach and the men and women who give testimonies speak to us.
We should come to this missions conference as the people came to hear Jesus. They “pressed upon” him to hear the word of God. I will come to each meeting expecting that when the men speak, I’m going to hear the word of God. We should not just show up. We should press upon the Lord to hear him speak.
With the whole crowd at the lake listening for Jesus to speak, one man heard something that was specifically directed to him. Jesus spoke to Simon and requested that he would “thrust out a little”.
If you’re listening to the word of God being preached, Jesus may speak directly to you and ask you to do some small thing. Don’t listen for some big thing. Listen for a little request. Jesus didn’t really inconvenience Simon with his first request. Peter simply quit washing his net and thrust out a little.
Man, was the consequence of that decision ever huge in the end. From a “little from the land”, Simon went to the deep. From the deep he caught fish after coming up empty all night before. And from catching so many fish that his boat nearly sank, he went to catching so many men. Simon would have just been an obscure fisherman if he hadn’t made that first move away from the land.
During the missions conference there will be many of us here to listen to the missionaries and the preacher. And we will hear some good preaching from the word of God. Get all of that. Press upon the Lord to hear from him. Peter had a front row seat in the ship. But don’t miss that little aside, when Jesus speaks to you directly.
Whatever he asks you to do, do it. It may be little, but the results of your affirmative reply could be huge, even life changing.
Looking back, for us to change from the Methodist Church to the Baptist Church in Beeville was just “a little from the land”. The two churches were only two blocks apart. There was not much resistance to that move. But look today what came from that simple act of obedience.
I’ll admit that there was quite a bit of resistance to launching out into the deep when we moved to Pensacola, like Peter resisted in Lk 5:4-5. But look at the “men” that have been caught over the years as a result of continuing to obey the Lord’s voice.
None of this would have happened without that first thrust. So, listen for Jesus this week. Press upon him for his words. And see if he has some small special thing he wants you to do. No telling what might be riding on it.