Friday, April 19, 2013

On Obedience

Part of the "Devotional Thoughts" series. Go to the list of Labels in the right sidebar and click "Devotional Thoughts" to browse the entire series. Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version.


Read Luke 5:1-11. To summarize: Jesus encounters Simon Peter and his fisherman colleagues at the Sea of Galilee, uses their boat as a platform from which to teach crowds on the shore, and then instructs the fishermen to cast their nets, which results in a massive catch.

Consider Simon Peter's response to Jesus' instructions. Peter, of course, is notorious for speaking before thinking, but here at least it is to the readers' advantage, for we can read, in essence, his entire thought process. His first statement is a statement of fact: he and his partners had been out all night (the preferred time for fishing, according to the notes in my study Bible), and had caught nothing. I can almost imagine Peter cutting himself off with the second statement, when he decides that Jesus' instructions are enough to try again, despite all evidence indicating it would be futile.

And then, a miraculous catch!

As I read this passage last night, I wondered: are there things God is asking me to do, and on which He is waiting for me to act before responding with some miracle or revelation? Quite obviously, God is not dependent on my actions in any way, but I believe that He sometimes chooses to wait for us to be obedient to His call before enacting a particular blessing.

Why? I doubt it is merely an exercise in operant conditioning. Again, God is not dependent on my action, as if I was the accounting department officer who has to countersign a check. No, I think rather God waits for us to act so that we can learn the value of obedience, of doing things God's way, of trusting His judgment, even if we have already been out all night with nothing to show for it.

Is God asking you to do something, something that may seem odd or against rational thought? God is not bound by human reason. And there may be a blessing beyond what you can imagine waiting for you on the other side of obedience.

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