Not long before I started high school, my father purchased a fishing boat. He was excited about the boat, and he wanted me to go fishing. The problem was that he wanted to hit the water at dawn and I was not eager to start that early. As a result, I would sit on my end of the boat and sometimes fall asleep. It wasn’t until I heard him say ‘you can’t catch anything if your line’s not wet’ that I would wake up and come to my senses.
I remembered this after some Bible time with my oldest daughter. The lesson involved the fifth chapter of Luke, specifically where Jesus sees Simon Peter and others returning from a fishing trip:
“And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,
And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.
And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people out of the ship.
Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.”
Think about that word “nevertheless.” It means in spite of what has just been said. Now think about your reactions to God’s word, God’s instruction and His commandments. It’s not always easy, is it? Have you had a tired, whiny response at times? I have.
I’d be lying if I said I did not, and I’m assuming I’m not alone. Let’s just avoid making it a habit, shall we? Sure, Jesus tells us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light, but a burden is still the bearing of a load. If and when you gave the Lord a less-than-stellar response, did you follow that with a nevertheless-type of attitude?
Meanwhile, the Lord calls His disciples to be fishers of men. We do this by preaching the gospel, whether this is at home, online or in the public square. You may never get an “Amen!” You may never see a soul saved. But I guarantee you one thing. You can’t catch anything if your line is not wet.
The next time you share the gospel, forget about the days where you toiled and did not get the response you were hoping for. The past, as they say, is in the past. What is important is that you focus on the here and now, while at the same time serving the Lord with gladness (Psalm 100:2). I’m glad for the opportunities to fish with my father. I am thankful for the positions that I have where I work. It has not always been easy, and sometimes I feel as though I am too worn out to continue.
Nevertheless, I will do what the Lord tells me.