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  • Betsy James

Show Me Where to Cast my Nets


Sometimes I'm afraid of my own life. Not always. But sometimes on Sunday evenings when I'm looking over the calendar and adding up all of the work that needs to be accomplished in the next seven days a feeling of trepidation sets in. You see, I've always had a keen sense of my own limitations. There is only so much time, only so much energy, only so many resources and that reality leaves me feeling outmatched by the good works that lay ahead of me.

Fear is never the right response, and as my pastor likes to say, "I don't live there...I just visit there sometimes".

As we enter a new school year and a fall filled with programs and activities I know I am not the only one who feels like the days just aren't long enough to hold our schedules and so I want to share a prayer that I've been praying each morning.

"Lord, show me where to cast my nets."

You may recall the story in John chapter 21 where the disciples had been out fishing all night (to no avail) and the resurrected Jesus appears to them at daybreak and says "'Children, do you have any fish?' They answered him, "No." He said to them, 'Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.'" The result was, of course, a net so filled with fish that they could not haul it into the boat.

This passage speaks to me because it reminds me that I see in part but God sees in full. (1 Cor. 13:9) I have a plan for each day because that's what type-A people do...we attack each day with a well-thought out plan. The plan itself is not the problem, the problem is my hands...how tight is my grip? As with all things in our life, we must hold them loosely before the Lord.

He bought us, after-all. He can spend us however He pleases.

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.” - Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

And so when I wake up in the morning, before I dive into my to-do list, I have been trying to open my hands and say "Lord, show me where to cast my nets." This is another way of saying "Not my will but Your will...not my kingdom but Your Kingdom." Or perhaps more pointedly, "I do not know the best way to spend my life today. Show me where You are working. Guide me to the work that has the greatest return on investment. Help me not to miss your gospel mission because I am so busy checking items off my list. I belong to You. Spend me in whatever way You deem best."

When we begin our day with this humble plea, I believe God honors it. I believe He opens our ears and our eyes and guides our hands and feet to the child who needs eye-contact or the cashier who needs a friendly exchange or the widow who could use a phone call or the thank you note you've been meaning to send. And when we listen and respond to that still, small voice, we, like the disciples, will often be surprised by the results.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Psalm 118:24

This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

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#christiandiscipleship #schedules #worship

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