Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
The Call to Discipleship
In these verses from the Gospel of Luke Jesus is extending a challenge to his soon-to-be disciples. They have just completed a long night of fishing that was not very productive. They are tired, weary, and probably discouraged. So they are cleaning their nets and packing up after what we can assume was a disappointing day’s work.
This was likely not the first unsuccessful fishing day for these career fishermen. It was probably one of many disappointing days’ work. We all have those, don’t we? When we feel discouraged after working all day at the office, or we have been taking care of our family, but things just didn’t go as we wanted them to go. When it seems there is more to do at the end of the day than there was at the start of the day.
This is the moment that Jesus decides to challenge these tired workers. He doesn’t tell them to cast their nets at the start of their day, or in the middle of their day, when things are becoming bleak as they have caught no fish yet. Jesus doesn’t even tell them at the very end of the day, as they are bringing the boat to shore. Jesus challenges them once they have the boat docked and they are packing up their nets. This is the worst time to start all over for a day of fishing.
But this is the path of discipleship. The call doesn’t often come at the easiest time. It barely comes in slightly stressful times. It most often comes in the most difficult moments in life. So we must always be ready to hear the call of discipleship. And we must remember that our job is only to cast the net. It is Christ’s role to fill it.
Chaz Snider, associate pastor, Calvary Moravian Church
Winston-Salem, North Carolina