One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. - Luke 5:1-3, NLT
Jesus presented the Word of God with such a magnetic anointing that large crowds would gather to hear Him preach. Because of the press of the crowd, Jesus was unable to address everyone effectively. So He looked for a place from which He could effectively teach. That’s when the Lord took notice of two empty boats.
Jesus stepped into the boat, and, as He did, He asked Simon to push the boat into the water. Simon obliged.
After teaching the Word, Jesus told Simon to push the boat onto the water and cast his fishing nets into the water again. Simon was at first reluctant but then obeyed Jesus.
“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. - Luke 5:5-7, NLT
Simon had worked all night for a catch but caught nothing. But because He let down his nets in response to the command of Jesus, there was an abundance. Simon was likely exhausted from the night before – and likely discouraged. But what couldn’t be accomplished by man all night was accomplished by the Lord in a matter of moments.
Even Simon’s business partners, James and John, were blessed by Simon’s obedience toward Christ. And those around you will also be blessed at your obedience toward Christ – including your family and loved ones.
To top it off, Simon, James, and John were then called by Jesus to become His disciples. Can you imagine that? The failure of the night was likely forgotten in the joy of their newfound abundance and calling. How quickly things can change when Jesus comes on the scene!
But I can’t help but ask this question: what would have happened if the boats were not empty?
Sure, the call of the disciples was an important part of the sovereign plan of God, but you cannot forget the element of free will. People miss their opportunities everyday. Think of the rich young ruler who many Bible scholars say could have been a disciple of Jesus had he only given up his riches.
My point is this: have you left room for the Lord in your life?
Do you give Him time in prayer, the Word, and worship? Do you live attentive to the inner witness of the Holy Spirit?
You see, dear reader, the Lord will step into the lives of those who make room for Him. And, once there, the Lord will challenge you. Once you make room for the Lord, He will move on your behalf and then challenge you to forsake all and follow Him.
Think about it. The Lord had just blessed the disciples with an abundance of fish. Then He asked the disciples to leave that blessing and follow Him. Often, God will bless you just to test you. And, often, God will bless you just to show you that He is your source – that you need only to follow Him.
Once Jesus had stepped into the empty boat, He made a request of Simon – namely, to push the boat out onto the water. This is how the Lord works: He will challenge those who make room for Him. He will test those who seek Him. And He will bless those who by faith obey Him.
Have you made room for the Lord to challenge you? Have you given Him a place to speak into your life? Are you ever quiet enough to hear His voice?
Make room for the Lord. Once He’s on your boat, everything changes and rapidly so.