What comes after your “but”? The conjunction in the middle of your sentence, that is. I have been consistently returning to the story of Simon and Andrew being called by Jesus for a life of discipleship. There are so many gems in the story, but as I read the passage in Luke 5, there was a strong focus on Simon. In the Hebrew language Simon means “he hears.” That is important because Simon had to hear what Jesus was really saying, and not only hear, BUT be obedient.
The story goes that Simon and Andrew had been fishing all night and caught nothing. Despite their expertise and past experiences as professional fishermen, they failed. Then, and this tickles me, a carpenter by trade walks along and has the audacity to tell them how to fish! Jesus, the carpenter, hops in their boat, proceeds to teach the people for a while, then turns to Simon (and Andrew who isn’t mentioned in Luke 5 by name, that’s another story) and says “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch” (v. 4). It was at this point that Simon, who hears, had a choice to make. He had heard all that Jesus said to the people and now he heard a personalized command to do something kinda crazy. Would he do it? Would he take orders from a carpenter? Would he choose to obey despite his professional logic and exhaustion (remember they’d been fishing all night)?
Here’s what Simon said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, BUT at your bidding I will let down the nets.” What came after Simon’s “but” was a life-changing moment. Literally in that moment, Jesus gave Simon a new name- Peter (the rock). His obedience, not his professional training, intellect, or personality- made space for his destiny. Moreover, Simon Peter’s obedience influenced others (Andrew, James, and John) as we see in other gospels and Luke 4:10.
The challenge for me when I read this is, am I ready to hear? How will I respond when what God requires of me doesn’t match up with my logic? What comes after my “but”? Will it be “…but, no thank you.” Or “…but, I’ll trust what has always worked in the past.” Or am I ready to respond with obedience when Jesus says “put out into deep water”? Because, He will, and when He does, it will require faith! What comes after the “but” must be obedience. I know that the cost of my obedience will be- pride, time, convenience, rest, control, among other things. Will I hear Him? Will I willingly go wherever He tells me to go? And most importantly whose lives will be impacted by my obedience?
If you know me well, you know that my first answer is often “no” as I set boundaries, guard resources, and avoid impulsive decisions. However, I learned from Simon that I can state the reasons I have for a no, however, the important part is what comes after the “but”. When JESUS calls, it must be “…but, yes!”