The fisherman THINKS he knows how to catch fish. He has done it all his life. He knows the behavior of the fish, where they are based on wind, sun, temperature and time of day. He is so much the expert that he forgets who truly brings in fish.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” — Luke 5:4-6, 8 NIV.
After this, Jesus commissioned Peter a “fisher of men,” which is what we are. Never forget the difference between the expert fisherman and the Expert Fisherman. Depend on Him to make the catch. Pray.
When the going gets tough, the tough go fishing. JK.
No, what I really want to talk about is CATCHING fish. I took my kids fishing for the first time at June Lake in the Eastern Sierras of California. They learned what fishing truly is: we didn’t catch a thing. I think they thought it was like in the cartoons: as soon as put the baited hook in the water, you pull out a beauty.
My kids got frustrated. Hosea said he never wanted to fish again in his life. Robert prayed and made vows to God. Rebekah was bored out of her mind and complained.
I laughed. Admittedly, I’m not the ace angler. But I know that fishing sometimes can be like that. You just enjoy the splendor of the surroundings and tranquility of the lake. You eat tuna back at camp (because you didn’t catch trout).
There’s a lesson for ministry in this. Sometimes you’re not catching (Remember the “fishers of men” parable?). Even in times of dryness, of frustration, of apparent stagnation, it’s still more glorious than secular work. So don’t throw your bait into the lake. Don’t drive down the mountain cursing. Hang in there. The more you fish, the better you get. Sooner or later, you’ll not be just enjoying the scenery.