Hard Working Fishermen

Fishermen throwing a net while standing on a boat

The fishermen worked hard while they were out to sea. The task list required hard work. Putting bate in nets, casting nets, and pulling nets full of fish into the boat must be done as a part of the job. This was not easy. It took hard work, and fishermen’s day didn’t stop when they arrived back at shore.

When ashore, fishermen had to unload their boats. They had to repair nets. Fish had to be cleaned and sold. The work on the ground was as hard as being at sea. Successful fishermen had to work hard.

Their willingness to work hard was one of the reasons Jesus called fishermen to be his first disciples. Jesus knew being “fishers of men” would require much labor, so he called those who were willing to work hard. The same is true today.

Working hard is a key to success. Many scams and schemes have been developed over time trying to skirt hard work, but there is no substitute for rolling up our sleeves and getting to work.

The Bible links working hard for the Lord and successfully fulfilling our purpose.

  • Psalm 128:1-2 says, “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. You will eat the fruit of your labor. Blessings and prosperity will be yours.”
  • Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”
  • “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart…,” Colossians 3:23-24 says, “since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.”
  • Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord,” says Romans 12:11.

Fulfilling our purpose requires you and I to work hard. There is just no substitute for hard work, and as we reap the benefits of our labor, we must remember the cause of our success is the Lord.

Deuteronomy 8:17-18 says, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me,’ but remember the Lord your God. For it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth….”

The Bible encourages us not to become conceited. The success you and I enjoy comes from the Lord, and the writer of Proverbs says, “Pride comes before the fall.”

It’s Not About Me tells the story of a frog with a problem. The frog’s home pond is drying up, and the frog has heard a vibrant stream is just across the field. Getting across the field would be an impossible journey for a frog with short legs, so a plan is developed.

The frog convinces two birds to fly across the field carrying a stick. Each bird carried one end of the stick in her mouth, and the frog clinched the middle of the stick with his mouth. The birds were flying the frog across the field when a cow looked up and saw the three. “Who come up with that idea?” the cow wondered aloud.

Not able to resist, the frog opened his mouth and said, “I did.” Pride comes before the fall.

As you and I enjoy success from our hard work, we must remember it comes from the Lord. Working hard for the Lord does bring success. It may not come today or tomorrow, but if we hang in there, it will come.

What is the Lord calling you to do? Completing this calling will take hard work and working hard for the Lord brings success.

 

Fishermen Persevere

person standing near a calm sea

The night was long, and the fishermen cast the nets time after time. Each time they pulled up the nets, they were empty. Though they worked hard all night, they did not catch any fish. There were nights like this for the fishermen. Fishing was an occupation that required much dedication.

Dedication is one of the characteristics causing Jesus to call fishermen as his first disciples. Fishing was an occupation requiring patience. Fishermen could not give up even if no fish were caught. They had to persevere to succeed.

Fishing was easy on the nights fish were abundant, but on the nights the nets came up empty, it took a truly dedicated person to keep fishing.

You and I can relate. Life is easy when things seem to be going our way, but when difficulties arise, it takes dedication to pursue our calling. Achieving our goals, realizing our dreams, and fulfilling our purpose call for perseverance.

It takes time, effort, and devotion to get through the rough patches, and we have been promised they will come.

“In this world you will have troubles but take heart. I have overcome,” Jesus says in John 16:33.

We are promised rough patches will come, but don’t forget the other piece of the Lord’s statement. “I have overcome,” Jesus says. If we persevere with the Lord, we too will overcome.

Here are 10 verses encouraging us to persevere.

  1. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, because having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
  2. “And as for you, never tire of doing what is good,” 2 Thessalonians 3:13 encourages.
  3. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,” Proverbs 3:5-6 says. “In all your ways, submit to him and he will make your paths straight.”
  4. 2 Corinthians 1:21 says, “Now it is God who makes both you and us stand firm in Christ. He anointed us.”
  5. “Put on the full armor of God,” advises Ephesians 6:11, “so you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
  6. Hebrews 6:11 says, “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hoped for may be fully realized.”
  7. In John 6:40, Jesus encourages, “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
  8. “Stand firm and you will win life,” says Luke 21:19.
  9. Romans 12:12 says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.”
  10. “Let us not become weary in doing good,” Galatians 6:9 encourages, “for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Fishermen were called because of their dedication. It is a “must have” characteristic to get through life. Without dedication, we can quickly become disoriented and swallowed up by life’s troubles. Perseverance is required to overcome struggles and difficulties. It may not be easy, but with the Lord’s help, you and I can do it.

Acting

Ask the Lord to help you develop an attitude of perseverance. Refuse to give up when life’s troubles surround you.

 

 

Skillful Fishermen

black and red toolbox containing tools

Every occupation has tools which are necessary to get the job done. Fishing is no different. Fishermen have a tackle box filled with various lures and different kinds of bate. Each lure and kind of bate serves a specific purpose, and fishermen are skilled at using the equipment needed for their occupation.

Equipment has evolved, but the skill needed to use the equipment has always been necessary. Fishermen, in Jesus’ day, were skilled at using their equipment.

This is one of the reasons Jesus called fishermen to be his first disciples. They were skilled in using the tools at their disposal.

Like fishermen, Christians have a variety of tools at our disposal. We need to make sure we are skilled at using them. Here are 3 tools and some tips to sharpen your skillfulness in using them.

1. The Bible

We have Scripture.

Hebrews 4:12 states, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

Jesus illustrates how to use Scripture in Matthew 4. Immediately after his baptism, Jesus was led into the desert for a period of temptation. Satan approached Jesus multiple times trying to tempt him, and each time Jesus responded by quoting the Bible. Jesus used Scripture to overpower temptation.

There is great power in Scripture, and we need to be skilled in using it.

Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

The Psalmist says he placed God’s word in his heart; he stored Scripture in his heart, so he had it to use. The Bible is a powerful tool, and you and I can become skilled in using it by…

  1. Gaining an understanding of the Bible.
  2. Memorizing Scripture to recall in stressful situations.
  3. Using the wisdom within the Bible to guide our life.

2. Prayer

James says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Jesus illustrates how to use this tool. Jesus frequently withdrew to private places spending time in prayer. He prayed about everything.

We have the tool of prayer. It gives us the opportunity to have an open and honest conversation with the Lord. The skill comes in using it daily. Prayer is a powerful tool we’ve been given.

3. Community

We are not alone. We have one another, and community is a grand tool for us. Christians are available to each other in all seasons of life.

We celebrate each other’s victories. We support one another in difficult times. We mourn and grieve as a community. We laugh as a family, and work together as a team. We do life together.

Relationship is a valuable tool for us, and we can sharpen our skills by participating. Don’t take on life by yourself. Allow the community to support you, and when your support is requested, be ready and willing to offer it. Community is a tool which can accomplish much for the Lord.

Acting

The Christian toolbox has powerful and effective tools. As Christians, we need to keep our skills sharp. We are more effective if we’re using the tools at our disposal. Take steps today to sharpen your skills. Spend time in the Bible and in prayer. Spend time building relationships with other Christians.

What tools would you add to the list? Share in the comments below.

Be sure to share this post with anyone you believe would find it helpful.

 

Courageous Fishermen

storm clouds

Deep water, tall waves, and a fierce wind made for an interesting night on the boat. The boat swayed from side to side as it was tossed by the waves, but the crew stayed hard at work. It was commonplace to be caught in a storm.

The wind would sweep down from the mountains and cause a severe storm to pop up on an otherwise good night for fishing. Catching fish meant risking being caught in a storm, so fishermen were accustomed to this situation. Much courage was required to hold fishing as your occupation.

Fishermen would go into deep water, survive a treacherous storm, and repeat the process the next night. They courageously viewed storms as a normal part of their lives. They did not lack courage, which is one of the reasons Jesus called fishermen to be his first disciples.

Jesus knew it would take courage to travel the road ahead, so he called courageous people. The same is still true today.

Traveling life’s road requires much courage. With all the twists and turns, no one is sure what tomorrow may bring, and a storm may pop up at any time. But, as Christians, we can take courage in the Lord.

Psalm 46 says, “God is our refuge and strength; always ready to help in times of trouble. So, we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge.

A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. The nations are in chaos, and the kingdoms crumble. God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts. The Lord of Heaven’s armies is here among us. The God of Israel is our fortress.

Come see the glorious works of the Lord: see how he brings destruction upon the world, he causes wars to end throughout the earth, he breaks the bow and snaps the spear, he burns the shields with fire…. The Lord of Heaven’s armies is here among us. The God of Israel is our fortress.”

We can courageously take the next bend in the road because the Lord is with us. The Psalmist reminds us that our refuge, fortress, and strength travels with us.

Around the bend may be natural disaster, family emergency, economic strain, lost job, or health concerns, but we can take the corner courageously. The Lord is with us, and saying, “Take courage. It is I.”

Some form of the words “do not fear” appears in the Bible 365 times; that is, one time for every day of the year. Each day the Lord encourages us, “Do not be afraid. Take courage.”

 

Fishermen are Team Players

Fishermen throwing a net while standing on a boat

If you’ve played a team sport, you’ve probably heard a coach say, “There’s no I in team,” or “Nowhere in team does it say me.” Teamwork is essential for success. Teammates must work together for the greater good of the team. Ego and self-centeredness must be set aside, and when the team succeeds, everyone on the team looks good. Members benefit from the team’s success.
Jesus understood the importance of teamwork, which is why he called fishermen. Fishermen are team players; they know how to work together.
Fishing, in Jesus’ day, was hard work. It required much manual labor. Manually pulling in a net full of fish took hard work. Everyone on the boat worked together to pull in the net. The crew worked together to pull in the net; the team worked together to achieve their goal. They did not allow one person to do all the work. Here’s an example.
The disciples had fished all night, but they had caught nothing. Jesus instructed Simon to put down the nets once more, and the nets were filled with fish and began to tear. Simon and the others on his boat were working hard, but they needed more help.
“A shout for help,” according to Luke 5:7, “brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.”
A shout for help brought out the whole team. The fishermen on the shore didn’t stand at a distance watching the others struggle. They went to work helping pull in the nets. The moment was right to catch fish, and the fishermen had to work as a unit to get the abundant catch into the boats. The fishermen had to work together as a team, and teamwork is a characteristic Jesus desired.
Teamwork is still a characteristic the Lord desires today. As Christians, Scripture calls you and I to work together to achieve a common goal. Our Goal is extending the Lord’s invitation of grace to the world. Achieving this goal requires teamwork, and in his grace, the Lord has equipped you and me to play our part on the team.
“In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well, so if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is encouraging others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously, and if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.”
The Bible reminds us we have a part to play, and our part is different than everyone else’s. Our role on the team is unique like us, and our role matters. The Lord desires teamwork.
And remember, your role is vital to the Lord’s team achieving the goal.

Listening to the Coach

“My wife says I don’t listen,” a husband remarked, “or at least I think that’s what she said. I really wasn’t listening.”

Listening is a valuable, and sometimes, difficult skill.

We live in a noisy world. Many messages and ideas are clamoring for an audience, and it is difficult to tune in and listen. Distractions try to grab our attention while we’re listening, and it can be a struggle. Listening is vital to success though, so it is a skill you and I must continually sharpen.

No matter the goal, listening will be a part of achieving it. Colleagues must listen to one another to complete a project. A salesperson can only identify a customer’s needs if he or she listens. A husband can only understand his wife’s needs if he listens. A wife can only understand her husband’s dreams if she listens. In a deafening stadium, a team can only hear the play if they listen to the coach.

 

Teams must listen to the coach. Someone must call plays and send the team in the right direction, and success is found when the team listens. Listening is an essential skill for success.

Jesus understood the importance of listening, which is why he called fishermen. Fishermen know how to take orders. They know how to listen to the coach.

Fishermen know how to listen to the coach.

Jesus called fishermen to be his disciples because they knew how to listen. He would offer instruction or direction, and the disciples would go to work without questioning his authority. Here are 3 examples.

1. Simon and Andrew responded immediately to Jesus.

Mark 1:18 says, “When Jesus called Simon and Andrew, at once they left their nets and followed him.”

Simon and Andrew responded immediately to Jesus. Some situations require an immediate response to instructions.

2. The nets were put down after a fishless night.

Luke 5:4-6 records, “When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Now go out where it is deeper, and let down the nets to catch some fish.’ ‘Master,’ Simon replied, ‘we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing, but if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.’ And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear.”

The disciples performed an action because Jesus gave a direction. I’ve often wondered how this account would be different if the fishermen had delayed in lowering the nets. Simon and his team lowered the nets simply because Jesus said to put them down.

3. A fishless night ended when the disciples placed the net on the opposite side of the boat.

After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples at the end of a fruitless night of fishing.

“He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’ ‘No,’ they answered. He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish,” according to John 21:5-6.

Listening yielded great results. Jesus called fishermen because they knew how to listen to the coach.

The fishermen Jesus called were not dumb; they were not puppets reacting at the pull of a string. They understood when it was appropriate to ask questions and when it was necessary to just act. As fishermen, they understood sometimes the difference between failure and success is the width of the boat and the time it takes to get to the other side. Listening was a characteristic Jesus desired.

Take time to listen.

Listening is still a desired characteristic. It is okay to ask questions and try to understand methodology, but sometimes, it is vital to simply listen to the Lord.

  • Proverbs 1:5 advises, “Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance.”
  • In Psalm 46:10, the Lord says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

We live in a world filled with noise and chatter, which makes it hard to listen. However, victory can come through listening to the Lord.

One way to sharpen this skill is scheduling a noise and distraction free time each day. Use the time to read Scripture and pray. The quiet will provide an opportunity to hear what the Lord is saying.

Listening is also vital for successful relationships. Here are 10 steps to effective listening, which may help sharpen your skills.

Fishermen were good listeners, and listening is a valuable characteristic.

Acting

How good of a listener are you? Take a small step today to sharpen your listening skills. It may be turning off distractions while reading, putting down your phone when someone is talking with you, or slowing your pace to absorb what is being said. Share the steps you are taking to become a better listener in the comments below.

Know someone who would benefit from this post? Please share it.

 

5 Reasons Jesus Chose Fishermen

Fishermen throwing a net while standing on a boat

The Bible tells us 7 of the first 12 disciples were fishermen by trade.  It is no accident Jesus chose these individuals to be his first disciples.  As fishermen, these guys possessed characteristics every Christian should have.  Here are 5 reasons Jesus chose fishermen.

Fishermen know how to take orders.

 

These men took orders without questioning or debating.  Here are 3 examples.

 

  • When Jesus called Simon and Andrew, “at once they left their nets and followed him” (Mark 1:18).  At once was their response, an immediate reaction to Jesus’ calling.
  • A night of fishing resulted in empty nets, Jesus told Simon to go to deep water and let down the nets. “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 so many fish their nets began to break” (Luke 5:5-6).  “Because you say so” was good enough.
  • A post resurrection appearance placed Jesus together with his disciples after a fruitless night of fishing. “He called out to them, ‘Friends haven’t you any fish?’ ‘No,’ they answered.  He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’  When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish” (John 21:5-6).  Listening to orders yielded great results.

 

While there is a time for questioning and debating, fishermen know sometimes the difference between failure and success is the width of their boat and the time it takes to cross from one side of the boat to the other.  They know when to simply take orders.

 

When Jesus said to cast their net on the other side of the boat, his disciples listened.  Christians, too, need to develop the skill of taking orders from the Lord.  It is okay to ask questions, but sometimes, situations call for simply taking orders.  The Psalmist records the Lord saying, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

 

Fishermen know how to work together.

 

Manually pulling in a net full of fish is a hard task.  Everyone on a boat works together to pull in the net.  The crew works as a team to accomplish their goal.  They do not let one person do all the work.

 

Scripture calls Christ’s followers to act in the same manner.  We are one body with many parts, and each part is to do his or her work to accomplish one common goal – introducing the lost world to the message of Christ.

 

Fishermen are dedicated.

 

Fishing requires a great deal of patience and dedication.  Fishermen might go hours, perhaps days, without even a nibble.  Giving up is not an option though.  A fisherman’s dedication pushes the person to keep fishing.

 

Jesus knew what was ahead for his followers.  He knew he needed followers who would not easily quit.  The same is true today.  Christians are called to pick up our cross and follow Christ daily.  It is never promised life will be easy, but it is promised the Lord will care for us and Heaven will be worth the wait.  As Christians, we must measure our dedication.  Are we as dedicated as fishermen?

 

Fishermen are courageous.

 

Fishing can require a person to travel into deep and treacherous waters.  It was common in Jesus’ day for fishermen to be caught in fierce storms while on the open sea.  It was their courage which pushed them to go back into the water after experiencing one of these storms.  Much courage was required.

 

Much courage is required for the Christian.  There are any number of circumstances that could cripple us with fear, but we must continue the journey of life.  This takes courage.

 

Did you know the most repeated command in Scripture is “do not fear?”  The Lord knew life would be rough and tough, so he gives us an encouraging command to have courage in the face of fear.  Psalm 46 reminds us the Lord is our refuge, strength, and protection.  In him, we can master fear with courage.  In him, we can have courage like fishermen.

 

Fishermen are skilled at using their equipment.

 

Good fishermen have a tackle box filled with various bates and lures.  Each one assigned a specific task.  Fishermen know each one’s job and how to properly use it.  They are skilled at using their equipment.

 

Like fishermen, Christians have some equipment at which we need to be skilled in using.

 

God’s Word – We have Scripture.  It is our double-edged sword.

 

Jesus shows us how to use our sword in Matthew 4.  Jesus has just been baptized and is immediately led into the desert to be tempted.  Satan tempts Jesus, and each time Jesus runs Satan off by quoting Scripture.  There is great power in God’s Word, so Christians need to be skilled in using it.

 

Prayer – James says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

 

Again, Jesus shows us how to use this tool.  Reading through the Gospels reveals Jesus withdrawing to pray frequently.  Before any major event, Jesus takes time to pray.  How well do you follow this example?  Prayer is an awesome tool the Christian has been given.  It is our responsibility to be skilled in using it.

 

Jesus could have called anyone he wanted to be his first disciples, and he called 7 men who were fishermen.  This was no accident.  These men possessed characteristics Jesus desires for all his followers to possess.  We know, of course, the Christian life is one of continual growth, so if you feel you are lacking one of these characteristics, ask the Lord to help you grow in that area.  Pick one as your focus and enjoy the adventure of growing.  Share some of the excitement of your adventure in the comments below.