The Lady with the Tissue
The Lady with the Tissue
Words of Faith 3-30-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God,  he saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets.  He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."
 Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."
 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.  So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
When I was a senior in High School, the pride of my life was my '71 Duster. I rebuilt the engine the summer before my senior year. The engine block was painted blue and the exhaust manifolds were painted white. My mother thought that it was a "nice" car. It had a V-8 with 318 cubic inches under the hood and 3 on the floor. I carpeted it with green shag carpet even in the back window.
One day I was driving down the road and my car just stopped. I rolled to the side of the road and popped the hood. It was a weird thing. The battery seemed charged but the starter was not turning. Nothing. A car pulled over and a lady from my church offered me a ride. No. I would call my Dad if I couldn't figure it out. But this lady hung around. As I was looking under the hood she started giving advice.
"Do you suppose the oil is low?"
"I don't think so," I answered. (Of course it doesn't matter if the oil is low if the problem is electrical but I didn't want to say that.)
"Well you know the oil is very important," she persisted as she pulled a tissue out of her purse. (Now, I finally knew why ladies carry tissues in their purses.) She reached in checked the oil, and sure enough, the oil actually was nearly a quart low. She drove off as I continued cleaning the electrical connections and tapping the distributor. In a few minutes, the lady came back with a quart of oil. Now I was very polite. I wasn't about to say, "Ma'am, oil has NOTHING to do with electricity". I just pulled a spout from the trunk and added the oil to make her happy.
"Well?" she said with a big expectant smile, "Are you going to try it?" Okay, okay. (No eye rolling, I promise.) We could settle this without being rude. I got behind the wheel. Turned the key and... you guessed it. Rrrr-- rr rr- varoom. All 318 cubic inches. I got out to see her beaming with obvious excitement. So I thanked her… for fixing my car. And watched her drive away.
It may be that the only thing worse than unwanted advice is unwanted advice that is… correct, or at least apparently correct. But I was driving again.
It was just that kind of day when Simon Peter had an encounter with Jesus that changed his life. Peter had been watching and listening and observing this guy Jesus for some time. Jesus had healed his mother-in-law. He had seen Jesus do some other amazing things but nothing so far had pulled him away from business as usual.
We get a bit of an insight here into Simon Peter. While Jesus was teaching, Peter was working. He was cleaning fishing nets. Probably listening, but there was work to be done. All this talk about the Kingdom of God wouldn't put food on the table. Simon Peter had been fishing all night and had not caught a thing. It was time to get the nets ready for the next night of fishing and that was hard to do with a crowd of people.
Then Jesus asked a favor. If you're not using this boat, can I use it to preach from? Simon Peter was polite of course. When Jesus finished preaching he noticed that Peter didn't have any fish. So, like the lady with the tissue, this carpenter rabbi started giving fishing advice.
"Say, have you tried fishing over there in that deep water". Now understand this. Simon was a Galilean fisherman, like his father before, and his father before that. There was nothing about the lake he did not know. He knew where the fish ran and where they did not. He knew when to fish and where, every rocky shoal and deep pool. He had already fished all night and, as happens sometimes, even an expert comes up short. No fish. That was okay. It happens.
But now this carpenter rabbi from Nazareth was giving advice? It would have been tempting to ask: "How much fishing y'all do around Nazareth?” (There is no water around Nazareth.) “You carpenters get out to the lake often?" After all, the nets were clean and gathered. Who wants to put the nets in again after daylight? But instead Simon answered politely "Master" (or sir), we've been working all night long, but okay, I will humor you. Because it's you."
What happened next was most confounding and wonderful. The carpenter was right! Not just a little bit right. They caught so many fish that their nets began to break. They had to signal their partners to come and help them, and they filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
Now Jesus had Peter's attention. This was the beginning of a serious relationship between Peter and Jesus. Jesus had been patient with Peter and his slowness to respond. But Jesus was also persistent and got with Peter where it would count. It was no accident that Jesus chose to heal Peter's mother-in-law. No accident that he chose that spot to preach and that boat as a pulpit. This was just the beginning, as we will see.
Question. Has Jesus been trying to get through to you? He is patient but persistent. Has He been trying to get more serious with you? A deeper walk with Him? It's easy to just watch what God is doing from a distance. Go to church when you can. Clean nets at a distance. Fish a little, but don't let Jesus really get into your business.
It's easy to keep Him at a polite distance. But Jesus is persistent. Like the lady with the tissue, he will come and help you when you don't think you need any help. He will get things going in ways you could not dream.
Father God, I want to go deeper with You. I want that deeper walk with Jesus. Come and breathe a fresh wind of Your Spirit into my life. Show me the places You want me to fish. I am ready. In Jesus' name.