What does Jesus see in the fisherman washing his nets? All we can say with certainty is that Jesus relies on Simon’s humble vocation to get himself out into the water. Jesus doesn’t have to do this. Though Luke doesn’t tell the story of how Jesus walks on the water, surely the one who casts out demons and later calms a stormy sea doesn’t need Simon’s help. Yet Jesus chooses to rely on this fisherman and his ordinary vessel.
I am writing this during the third month of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over these weeks we’ve opened our eyes to recognize the people we rely on every day. We are clapping for nurses, fist-pumping truck drivers, and thanking grocery clerks, while many of us are sitting on our couches in sweatpants. We are remembering that many of the people we have often looked past and underpaid are essential to us.
The spiritual lesson of this time and of this Gospel story may be that all workers, and all of the honest work that they do, is not just essential, but sacred, imbued with the life of God.
Maybe when Jesus jumps into Simon’s boat, Jesus is not only inviting him to become a disciple, but honoring who Simon already is and what he is already doing.
How would your life be different if you chose to believe that you were essential to God?
God of all creation, give me the imagination to see you in all things, even in me and in my ordinary life. Amen.