“Gone Fishing” might be an appropriate sign to hang on the door on a summer day. It is not a sign I am likely to post but I think Peter used it in biblical times. Let’s go fishing and see what we can learn from this fisherman.
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to
fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
Jesus calls. Are we listening? If we follow Jesus, He will utilize our gifts and abilities to their fullest potential. Jeremiah 29:11 confirms this by stating, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Like Peter who left his fishing net, Jesus’ call may require us to leave behind some of our personal dreams but He assures us that His plans will be more fulfilling for the greater eternal purposes of God.
“Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”
Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and
caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.”
Jesus asks us to go deeper into our faith. I Corinthians 2:10 states, “For to us God revealed them (the things eye has not seen and ear has not heard but that God has prepared for us – from verse 9) through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.” Like Peter, we are to obey the requests of Jesus. Deuteronomy 5:33 tells us, “Walk in obedience to all that the LORD your God has commanded you.” and James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” We deepen our faith by obeying the Lord.
When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish,
and their nets began to break;
Our obedience unto Jesus will allow for greater success than we can imagine, and the outcome will glorify the Lord. Paul says in I Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” Peter caught more fish than he anticipated; what might be in store for us?
“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them (other disciples)
and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out
and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
(Three years have elapsed between Luke 5:6 and John 21:3. Peter and Jesus have shared three years of their lives. Jesus was crucified and resurrected between these two conversations.) Going fishing may not have been a bad thing for Peter to do, but neither was it necessarily the best thing he could have done. We make numerous decisions throughout our lifetimes. However, every decision may not be advantageous unless we rely upon the Lord’s guidance and direction. In Psalm 46:10 the Lord says,“Be still, and know that I am God.” Sometimes the best thing we can do is be still until the Lord speaks to us.
He (Jesus) said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat
and you will find some.” When they (the disciples) did, they were
unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Just because we do not succeed at a task, does not mean we are doing the wrong thing. We simply may not be doing it Jesus’ way. Peter encountered abundant fishing when he listened to Jesus’ directions. If we seek divine guidance and wisdom for all we do, we will achieve better results. The Lord says in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Then he (Jesus) said to him (Peter), “Follow me!”
We must constantly seek the Lord’s guidance and listen for His voice! Scripture records two separate occasions when Jesus called Peter to follow Him with similar yet different commissions. Scripture assures us that the Lord will direct us as well. Isaiah 30:21 says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”
“Gone Fishing” may have become a permanent sign that Peter eventually posted outside his door. Whether fishing for fish or fishing for people, Peter chose to obey the Lord. Jesus told Peter from which side of the boat to fish and He would tell him where to go catch people for Christ. We, too, are to listen for Jesus’ guidance. We must be ready to go fishing in the way and at the place where the Lord directs.