Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. (Luke 5:1-6 NRSV)

Simon had been out fishing all night. Coming back to clean his nets, he was tired and ready to go home and get some sleep. That’s when Jesus interrupted him to ask a favor: “Simon, the people are pressing in. Can I bother you to take me a few feet off shore and let me teach from your boat?” (Luke 5:4). How do you think Simon felt? I imagine him feeling inconvenienced, a little put out by the request. Ultimately, though, he obliged.

When Jesus finished preaching from the boat, he turned to Simon and said, “Let’s go fishing, Simon.” Simon protested at first but finally relented, saying, “Yet if you say so...” (Luke 5:5). With that, in resignation and likely some irritation, Simon took the boat out from shore.

Jesus often asks us to do things that are inconvenient. Most of us, I suspect, would prefer a convenient faith. I want Jesus to work around my schedule and never to ask me to do anything too troubling. And by the way, if he wants to borrow a house, car, boat, or tools, I’d prefer that he borrow someone else’s!

One of the ministries of our church distributes beds, blankets, and pajamas to low-income children who have no beds and sleep on the floor. We do this as a part of our partnership with six elementary schools in low-income neighborhoods of Kansas City. I love this ministry.

Recently, one of the leaders who organizes the ministry asked me if I would join her team in distributing beds on a Sunday afternoon. My typical routine on Sundays includes preaching three times Sunday morning, going home to eat lunch and take a nap, and then going back to preach one last time Sunday night. The volunteer was asking me to give up my rest time, drive thirty minutes each way to the school, and meet the recipients and her team members. I’ll be honest: my initial reaction was to thank her but say that I couldn’t do it. After all, I had a good excuse. She would understand. But something (Someone?) nudged me and my wife to join them.

So LaVon and I ate a quick bite and went down to Wheatley Elementary School to visit with recipients and servants, as our church gave away forty beds for children who had been sleeping on the floor. I arrived at the school exhausted, but I left energized. Watching the children with their new beds, praying with families, seeing the blessing that took place—all of it filled me with a sense of renewed passion and joy.

In the end, Simon agreed to be inconvenienced by Jesus. When, against his wishes, he let down his nets, they were filled to overflowing.

Will you allow Jesus to inconvenience you?

Lord, help me to pay attention to your nudges and to say yes when you interrupt or ask something inconvenient of me. Amen.

Today's post is an excerpt from The Way: 40 Days of Reflection.

Are you ready for Lent and Easter? I've written here about several resources that you may find helpful.


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