By WALTER ALBRITTON
Luke tells about a time when Jesus was standing by the lake teaching the word God to a crowd of people who were eagerly listening. At the water’s edge were two boats left there by fishermen who were washing their nets. One of the boats belonged to Simon. Jesus got in it and asked Simon Peter to move it out a little from the shore. Then Jesus began teaching the people from the boat.
When Jesus had finished teaching, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”
Simon’s response is somewhat surprising. He and his friends had fished all night and caught nothing. They were tired and disappointed. But instead of rebuffing Jesus, Simon replied, “Master, we worked hard all night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”
And when they did, they caught so many fish their nets began to break, and the boat was soon so full of fish that it began to sink.
In that story, the phrase, “if you say so,” catches my attention. Long ago, I began to realize that my maturity as a Christian depended upon doing what Jesus says to do. He made that clear when he said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
I must confess that I am a bit like Simon when I consider some of the things Jesus said to do. Simon showed no enthusiasm about letting the nets down again. And I find myself responding to Jesus much like Simon did, “I’m not sure about that Lord, but if you say so, I will do it.”
There have been situations when it seemed impossible not to worry. But I heard Jesus saying, “Walter, do not worry; seek first my kingdom and my righteousness and I will provide all the things you need.” That’s when I said, “If you say so, Lord.” And repeatedly, He has kept His promise.
The demands of Jesus are not easy to meet. For example, when he says, “Rejoice and be glad when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you,” again I find myself saying, “If you say so, Lord.” And I have the same response when Jesus says, “If you expect your heavenly Father to forgive your sins, you must forgive those who sin against you.” I know better than to say, “But Lord, you don’t understand!” So I muster up the strength to say again, “If you say so, Lord.”
Like most people, I am fond of earth’s treasures. I like nice clothes, a nice car, nice books, a comfortable recliner and things that remind me of my Auburn connection, so I wince when Jesus says, “Walter, do not store up treasures on earth but store up treasures in heaven.” But since He has taught me that true life is not found in material possessions, I am able to say, “If you say so, Lord.”
Simon was amazed at what happened when he put aside his disappointment and said, “If you say so, Lord.” And like Simon, I too am constantly thrilled by what Jesus does when I do my best to do what He says do. Though I am sometimes staggered by the tough things Jesus says do, I know my best response is to stop doubting, and just do it! Because He said so!