Lessons From A Fishing Trip
by Rev. Howard Rosen, Jr.
Pleasant Grove Baptist
I will be the first to admit that I am not much of a fisherman, but I remember well the best catfish I have ever eaten was when we would go jug fishing at night on the Catawba River, then clean the fish we caught rolled it batter of cornmeal and salt and pepper and deep fried it in peanut oil, right there on the river bank.
The catch was always great because of the warm water that flowed below the Mountain Island dam (the fact that the water was pumped through the turbines to make power) made for some very large fish.
We had many nights of great catches and fellowship there on the river bank.
But the fishing was not good on the New Years Eve night that we decided to go fishing instead of having a preaching and prayer service as we usually did.
You might think it was because of the much rain we had over the past few weeks, but we had fished for hours and had not caught a thing. (We would soon see the rain wasn’t the reason at all) So we sent to the store for chicken because the grease was ready and we were hungry!
While waiting on the chicken run, two men and a teenage boy went for a boat ride and one more look at the jugs. After a short while we heard the motor make a strange sound, seconds later the cries for help echoed across the water in the cool night air.
They were in the water the boat had sunk, they were too far out for any one to reach them, and we had no other boat; the only one that could swim was the teenager, and with no life vest. It was hopeless.
We fell to the ground a began to pray as two other men went running up the road and took a boat from a neighbor's yard, and we prayed as they tried to row that boat to the other side of the river with a 1x6 board. I will never forget the sounds on the river that night...the cries for help...the fervent prayer like I have never heard or experienced, but the greatest sound of all was when we heard from the dark, "we got e’m, we got e’m all!"
We were praising God for His hand keeping them up for over ten minutes; it was truly a work of God. When they came to the fire to get warm and dry out, after thanking God, they wanted to know when the chicken would be ready.
Much like our story today there were lessons to learn that night. Not that the fishing and fellowship was wrong, but the fact that we had left the things that had made a great church, preaching and praying knowing that God had blessed us.
You see it was in one of those services that I surrendered to preach the gospel. So we thought this year we would start it without the things that make a strong church, but we soon learned that God had another plan, and He used our fishing trip to teach us a valuable lesson.
With this story in mind let’s take a look at some lessons we learn from our text today.
I. THE SORROW OF SELF-INDULGENT LIFE
1. It begins by an act of the will. – Peter says I go fishing. V3
2. It will lead others astray. – We also go fishing. V3
3. It results in futility. – They caught nothing. V3
4. It causes spiritual blindness. – They knew not it was Jesus. V4
5. It should cause us to search our motives when exposed. – Have you any meat. V5
6. It should reveal an honest answer. – No! You cant hide from God! V5
II. THE SUCCESS OF THE CHRIST-DIRECTED LIFE
1. The Distance of Success. – The boat was only a few feet wide, but with the direction of Christ it was all the difference needed. V6, God’s way works! He knows how to direct us to the place of blessing, who to witness to, who to talk to. The person that needs you today may be just a step, a few feet away. Listen!
2. The Directive of Success – The Word of God must be our tool for direction. V6 His direction will bring the success we need in all that we do.
3. The Distinctive of Success – Jesus says ye shall find. If we are to find success in God’s work we must do things His way. The secret is to listen to His Word and obey it and follow it. He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth fort much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:5
III. THE SUBSTANCE OF A CHRIST-DIRECTED LIFE
1. Discipline brings success – Their attitude was of obedience. V6
2. Discipline brings courage – They were tired, disappointed and discourage but they listened, and went into action, without question and without argument.
3. Discipline brings dedication – They were not distracted by their failure, but willing to trust Christ. If we follow His leadership and trust Him for the outcome, we can count on blessing and outstanding results.
4. Discipline brings unity – They were willing to work together. V8, We must be faithful in taking care of what the Lord has given us. With the Love of Christ in our hearts, and the praise of God on our lips we must come together to be useful.
5. Discipline brings delight – They were in the presence of Jesus. They didn’t have to even cook the fish they had caught; Jesus supplied the meal! Jesus showed them the true servants heart, by having the fish on the fire and inviting them to Come and dine! He wanted them to see that if they trusted Him they could rest in Him and the rearward would be great.
The same message is for us my friends we must have a Christ directed life. This story really has nothing to do with fishing, but has everything to do with trying to do God’s work without His direction.