At Your Command

February 10, 2019

In the proclamation of Luke’s Gospel, we hear of fishermen and their encounter with the Lord Jesus.  We hear of Jesus teaching the crowds from the boat, and after He was done He invites Simon to go out and lower the nets.  Simon first has an excuse—they are tired, they have been at it all night and have caught nothing.  Then Simon speaks of following the command of Jesus.  “At your command I will lower the nets.”  This is to make clear to us that they can do nothing on their own.  This had nothing to do with their skill.  This was all Jesus.  Simon later acknowledges this and says to the Lord, leave me, there are better people than me.  Isn’t that what we all want to say?  I know I do.  There are better people than me to do the Lord’s work and to lead this parish.  Yet, just like in biblical times the Lord invites Simon not because of his talent or lack of talent, but because it is God’s choice.

Jesus overcomes every obstacle we place in His way.  He lets us know that everything we do is all His and because of Him.  It is also important to note that God’s mission in our lives is all His.  Simon admits he is a sinner, an untrusting man who can’t measure up.  Jesus tells him and us, “do not be afraid.”  God is in control.  This dramatic scene is a blessing to us.  God invites us to look deeply into the mission He has placed in all our hearts.  This invitation lies solely on Him.  Our response is all we have control of.  Our response is to humbly know it is the Lord inviting and can only be accomplished through the Lord.  When I rise early in the morning, my morning offering of praise is to admit I solely need to rely on the Lord.  It is also a starting point to realize every good thing that occurs during the day is because of God.  Every tragic and bad thing has happened because I have gotten in the way.  “At your command” are powerful words.  At God’s command we came into this world, at God’s command we were born of parents, at God’s command we were given the gifts and talents of the Holy Spirit in the measure we received them.  All of this is at God’s command.  Every morning my prayer is that I may listen correctly and follow.  I try to breathe in the goodness of God.  I try not to rush into the day.

In the Gospel Jesus invited the disciples not just to follow, but to believe.  He invited them to abandon their sense of self and be led on a journey where the kingdom of God is a priority.  God is inviting us in the same way.  What do we need to abandon?  Do we believe we will overcome our sinfulness?  Can we simply trust Jesus and do what He commands?

Only in prayer can we find the grace to go the extra mile, cast off into deep waters and let go of the lifeline.  It is all Him and will always be all Him.  May we do what He commands.

Reverend  John J. Ouper