Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Gone Fishing (02/01/07)
TITLE: A Fishy Experience
By David Ritchie
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He may not have put a ‘Gone Fishing’ sign over his door, but it was a dead cert that was where he was. Not only himself but he had also taken the rest of the team with him. I think it’s fair to say that it is still quite common that even today when we turn our back on the will of God, we often drag others with us. Now it’s not necessarily a bad thing to go fishing, but for those who Jesus told, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men,” it was certainly a backward step. We are not really told why he went fishing, nor why the others many who were not fishermen were quick to follow; but fishing they went and with the combined knowledge and skills of the other three fishermen in the boat it was a fruitless nights work for Peter and Co.
Who knows it may have been Mrs Peter who hounded him back to sea now that this Jesus fellow had been put to death and Peter’s dream of a place in some earthly kingdom was over. It could be that like Abraham they got tired waiting for God’s promise and took events into their own hands. It could have been peer pressure or any of the multiple things we face today when people try to squeeze us into their mould. We sometimes do weird and wonderful things and blame it all on God – even sometimes when it goes against the general rule of scripture.
People have moved house, given up jobs, married into hopeless situations, left spouses, and done many other things against sound advice and with disastrous results all because we claim God told us. Peter’s step back into his old calling trying to catch fish instead of men was also a bad choice that involved much toil for no results.
It was not that fishing was evil; it was like many of the distractions we face in life today. In itself it was a good task, but unfortunately it stood between those men and the purpose God had for them. I guess many times in our lives we have the ‘gone fishing’ sign up as we pursue different distractions that keep popping up.
It was interesting (and encouraging for us today) that even after Peter’s cockerel experience on that fateful crucifixion morning, here he was again leading in the wrong direction. However equally encouraging is the fact that Jesus knew where to find him and his fellows, and was on the shore waiting for them as they were ending their fruitless trip.
Perhaps they needed the fish for their families, we are not told, but fishing they went and Jesus was about to make sure this was a fishing trip they would never forget. After getting an acknowledgement that their own efforts had produced nothing they were about to see once again natures response to that heavenly man.
“Let down your nets,” Jesus cried and as they pulled them in the nets were full but this time they never broke, nothing was lost. Another lesson for us is to learn that our own efforts normally come to nothing, by comparison to being obedient to the sure word of God.
The interesting thing to me was this; the very thing they set out to catch was already prepared on the fire by the Lord himself. So with the words, “Come and dine,” and the conversations that followed, this little bunch of men were about to stick up another sign, “Gone Fishing,” but this time they would fish for men. This time there was no turning back, they fished until they could fish no more. Aren’t you glad they stuck the sign up and fished throughout the known world spreading the net through generations, languages, nations, until it touched our shores?
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