Sunday’s scriptures can easily fall under the heading of “Call Stories.” Isaiah 6:1-8 presents an other-worldly scene with flying creatures and the reverberation of “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.” Overwhelmed by God’s glory and by his own unworthiness, Isaiah responds to the wild scene and God’s open question, “Whom shall I send,” with “Send me!”
In a very this-worldly scene, Luke 5:1-11 depicts frustrated fishermen cleaning their nets after a disappointing and unsuccessful attempt at fishing. Up walks Jesus who needs space from the crowds to teach, so he commandeers a fishing boat. After Peter’s boat serves as a pulpit, Jesus tells Peter to put it back to its primary use. Peter is reluctant – wouldn’t you be? Here’s a carpenter-turned-religious-leader telling a professional fisherman to go back out (and dirty the just-cleaned nets) after abject failure. Peter relents, saying, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.”
Before Jesus amazes everyone with the miraculous catch, Peter has responded to Jesus’ call. The call that will change Peter’s life forever will follow (when he leaves his nets to fish for people), but the call that made that possible was when Peter determined, “If you say so, I’ll (do it.)”
My experience is Jesus’ calls are more of the fishing scene, pre-miraculous catch variety than the call issued after the miraculous catch or the one in Isaiah that was accompanied by flying creatures. It’s often when we’re reflecting on Jesus’ teachings and spending time with him in ordinary scenes that we are given opportunities to live out his calling in very this-worldly ways. When he calls, we have choices, sometimes quite inconvenient ones, but if our response gets around to, “If you say so,” the results can be quite amazing.