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Fishing Without a Catch

Dr. Alvin Ang Saturday, April 5, 2014 // Discipleship, Worship, Youth // Comments

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Fourteen years into the 21st Century, we have seen significant changes in the people’s spending patterns. What were ones considered as “wants” are now labelled as “necessities”.

God, in His infinite wisdom and knowledge, knows all of these changes. In fact, He is not just an observer but a willing participant to see us through this modern life.

However, in the 21st Century, the lifestyle change has created various pressures that made it “imperative” for us to HAVE things. The race to acquire material things has become the primary activity of everyone, Christians not excluded.

We have all been sucked into what is known as the “Rat Race” – a race where no one wins. For us believers, this is a subtle, but a serious attempt by Satan to keep us busy – away from our core purpose of existence – which is to glorify God.

On hindsight, many believers have become complacent of just coasting along – just go to church, attend Bible study or small group or even serve in the church just for the sake of doing it – otherwise known as the Martha syndrome. At the end of the month when payables come, we find ourselves in lack. Then we find ourselves asking, what happened? We then, begin to say, “but Lord, I am a believer; I give my tithes; I serve the Lord; I go to church” – a number of justifications we tell God in order to MERIT our desires.

In the story of the incredible fish catch, Peter and the other disciples have been working hard all night but have not caught anything (Luke 5:5). They have given up on fishing and were already washing the empty nets when Jesus came. Jesus then told Peter to “go out where it is deeper.” When the disciples proceeded to do what Jesus told them,  they were surprised to find their nets so full of fish that it began to tear while their boats almost started to sink.

Now, what can we learn from this encounter with Jesus?

First, going after our desires without God will leave us empty handed. It is like fishing at the wrong side. Yes, some of us can get richer materially, but we surely will become poorer spiritually and relationally.

Any human effort without God will surely lead to emptiness.

Second, listen to Jesus always. Peter was ready to give up but decided to let Jesus ride in his boat and use it for teaching others. It was only after listening to Jesus that Peter realized he has the faith to believe.

His reply was in fact, more surprising than the surplus catch – “…but if you say so, I’l let the nets go down again.” This implies that Peter had already done what Jesus was saying. But he had done so without consulting God first. Peter and the rest were professional fishermen. They had been fishing all their lives. Why will they listen to Jesus?

But, here is where the transformation happened – by listening, then doing.

Lastly, blessings follow faith. Blessings are not rewards. They are given not because we deserve them. Instead, it is because of the good nature of God that we received them. We receive blessings because we recognized that regardless of the circumstance we face, we are fully assured that God will see us through. Being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Because Peter had faith, he received beyond what he expected. This too is what is designed for each believer. It is not the material blessings per se, but the spiritual catch that matters.

For the 21st Century Christian, the message is clear. In a period of lack and financial difficulties, do not fish without listening first. Throw your nets only after you have clearly understood where God wants you to be. Stand firm in your faith that God deserves the first attention before anything else and then, blessings in incredible nature will flood you. God bless.

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