by Jessica Belwood
"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." Luke 5:4-7
I wonder how Simon felt about the miracle afterwards. Bemused, probably. How could he have not netted much especially after slaving away throughout the night? For an experienced fisherman, he probably thought he knew all the secrets and tricks of the trade. But after obeying a perplexing command, Simon reaped so much that he nearly sunk.
Perhaps through the lesson, he learned to work smarter. Instead of working so hard, using his experience and knowledge, and bearing little fruit, he should have looked to the Master for answers. After listening to Jesus teach, he obeyed a simple command that Jesus gave him, and he received a reward that overflowed his boat.
This might parallel with youth ministry. One may slave away trying to reach teenagers, graduating with a Bible degree, setting up awesome outreach events, researching for youth ministry curriculums, putting in so many hours, only to have few to none Deaf teenagers following Jesus. The good news is that we don't have to work harder in youth ministry, we only have to work smarter. The best place we can start is to seek the Master, and obey Him and His leading. We can do what Simon has done- listened to Jesus teaching and seeking His wisdom in everything he did, and simply obeying Him.
Jesus's model in reaching out to people is simple and smart. He went out of His comfort zone. He touched and interacted with people. He was present. He was generous and kind. He was there long-term for his disciples. He rebuked and encouraged. He alone empowers us. No wisdom of the world will bring people to Jesus, only the wisdom of Jesus.
May we seek His wisdom and listen to His leading, so we may bear much fruit. May we not become discouraged after working long hours with no results. May our failures lead us to Jesus and His grace, so we may be transformed and learn simple obedience that will bring fruit. May we learn to work smarter, not harder.