In the movie ‘High Society’ Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong do a duet titled ‘Gone Fishing.’
Peter would have loved to join in and sing along with them.
What does fishing mean to you? Do you enjoy fishing? Or do you feel it is a waste of time?
Photo by Matt Hardy:
Our Scripture reading records an occasion when Jesus came to the rescue of his frustrated disciples who had spent fruitless hours fishing but had failed to catch even one single minnow.
Readings: Luke 5:1-11
FISHING FOR JESUS?
A lady was invited by her pastor to give her testimony of how she came to invite Jesus into her life. After describing the events leading up to her conversion to Christ, she ended her testimony along these lines, “Jesus said ‘I will make you fishers of men’ and I have been fishing for men ever since.” (Saints at Work – Author Unknown)
Those who love fishing will patiently wait for hours for that tug on the end of their line. I had two uncles who were very keen fishermen. There was an occasion as a youngster when they decided to go fishing for the day and invited me along. Given a rod, with great enthusiasm, I embarked on my first fishing adventure. But the fish were not biting and I wasn’t patient. Before long, I gave up and went exploring the coastline.
AN AMAZING FIND
Shirl and I were joint leaders of a Holy Land tour in October 1992. We spent three nights at Kibbutz Nof Ginosar on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. There we visited a museum that contained an ancient fishing boat that dated back to the time of Jesus. In 1986, when the surface level of the lake had dropped because of a drought, this boat was found embedded in the mud at the water’s edge.
AN AMAZING CATCH.
Early in his ministry, Jesus stood on the shore of Lake Galilee where a large crowd had gathered to hear Him. He asked Peter, whose boat was at the water’s edge, to “Put out a little from shore”. He then sat down and taught the crowd.
When Jesus had finished teaching, He told Peter to “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
The Sea of Galilee is teeming with fish. It seems unbelievable that those fishermen should have “…worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.” Yet when they followed Jesus’ instructions, “their nets began to break.” because of the weight of their catch.
They would never have experienced such a wonderful catch if they had not met two important conditions:
- They were willing to try again.
It had been a ‘hard day’s night’. They were weary from their efforts and lack of sleep, but Peter responded, “because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
- When things don’t work out the way you hoped, how do you react? Do you try again?
Patience and perseverance are the hallmarks of a good fisherman. Perseverance has been the hallmark of some of the great men and women of history. Perseverance ought to be a characteristic of every Christian yet how quickly we ‘throw in the towel’ when things don’t come up to expectations.
PATIENCE AND PERSERVERANCE
Jesus has instructed us to become fishers of men – to bring men and women into contact with their Saviour. This task requires patience and perseverance.
- They were willing to obey orders
- When the Lord is directing you in a particular direction how quick are you to obey?
Some of Jesus’ disciples were professional fishermen. Before Jesus invited them to follow Him they had earned their bread and butter from fishing. Along comes this carpenter and tells them how to do their job! They had every reason to respond – “What do you know about fishing? You stick to preaching and we’ll do the fishing.”
But they were prepared to do what he told them to do. They obeyed and reaped a rich reward.
There are times when fishing is frustrating and unfruitful, but fishermen keep at it because it is their calling. As Christians it is our calling to be fishers of men. Even if at times this may seem frustrating. The task of reaching family, friends and acquaintances for Jesus is not easy. Jesus never said it would be.
The purpose behind this miraculous catch of fish was not to merely give those tired fishermen a bit of encouragement. When Simon Peter saw what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Go away from me, Lord! I am a sinful man!” Peter had never seen so many fish caught up in a single net before.
Through this amazing miracle, Jesus gained the disciples’ attention. Then He delivered a punch line—“Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”
Jesus calls each of us from our daily routine to be His co-workers—fishing for His Kingdom.
A FISHERMAN’S CLUB?
An article which appeared in The Westminster Record years ago titled ‘The Fisherman’s Club” is an allegory about a club for fishermen in which every effort is made to promote fishing as a worthwhile occupation. However, none of the promoters or members actually engage in fishing. The article ends with the following challenging words:
Is a person a fisherman if, year after year, he never catches a fish? Is one really following the Master, if he isn't fishing? The Westminster Record, The Fisherman's Club Click To Tweet
This brings to mind the words of a Sunday School chorus,
“Fishing for Jesus
Fishing for Jesus everywhere
With a Bible and a prayer
Nothing can compare
With fishing for Jesus everywhere.”
Fellow Christians we have been called to be fishers of men. Our efforts to reach others for Jesus may at times seem frustrating, but I can assure you there will also be those times of rejoicing when someone you know – a relative, a friend, a colleague, says, “Yes to Jesus.”
Ask the Lord to show you how you can reach an unbeliever for Christ. And then why not listen to that fun children’s song? Click on the link and enjoy these enthusiastic young fishermen!
If you haven’t yet read the Introduction to Encounters with Jesus, please do. It will benefit you throughout this series of studies.