When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish." "Master," Simon replied, "we worked hard all last night and didn't catch a thing. But if you say so, I'll let the nets down again." And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, "Oh, Lord, please leave me-I'm too much of a sinner to be around you." For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. Jesus replied to Simon, "Don't be afraid! From now on you'll be fishing for people!" And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
Push out into the deep, Peter. Let's fish. I groaned. I looked at John. We were thinking the same thing. As long as He wanted to use the boat for a platform to speak, that was fine. But to use it for a fishing boat--that was our territory.
With every pull of the paddle, I grumbled. "No way. No way. Impossible. I may not know much, but I know fishing. And all we're going to come back with are some wet nets."
Finally we cast anchor. I picked up the heavy netting, held it waist-high, and started to throw it. That's when I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye.
"Boy, is He in for a disappointment," I thought as I threw the net. I wrapped the rope once around my hand and sat back for the long wait.
But there was no wait. The slack rope yanked taut and tried to pull me overboard. I set my feet against the side of the boat and yelled for help.
We got the net in just before it began to tear. I'd never seen such a catch. We began to take in water. John screamed for the other boat to help us.
That's when I realized who He was. And that's when I realized who I was: I was the one who told God what He couldn't do!
"Go away from me, Lord; I'm a sinful man." There wasn't anything else I could say.
I don't know what He saw in me, but He didn't leave. Maybe He thought if I would let Him tell me how to fish, I would let Him tell me how to live.
It was a scene I would see many times over the next couple of years. The characters would change, but the theme wouldn't. When we would say, "No way," He would say, "My way." Then the ones who doubted would scramble to salvage the blessing. And the one who gave it would savor the surprise.