Archive for September, 2014

One More Throw

Sea-of-Galilee-1900My earliest experience of fishing involved practicing the art of quietness. Fishing with my grandfather was an adventure, but I do believe it robbed him of that peace and solitude he looked forward to. He had a small jon boat with an even smaller Evinrude engine, but when I tagged along, it was to the banks we went. Grandpa sat on an old tin bucket, took a chew first, then the worm out of the cup and onto the hook (you have to be careful with the order because tobacco and worm-bed look the same). After throwing in, it he’d hand me the pole and then these immortal words, “Be very quiet, the fish can hear you.” Well, you know how long that lasted! Rule No.1, don’t try to teach patience and quietness to a youngster through fishing.

The art of fishing really comes down to three basic things; the proper equipment, the right place, and patience. There are several ways one can fish. Most recreational fishing is done by angling or the use of hook and line.  In the New Testament we see that the Apostles such as Peter, James, John and Andrew fished with nets.  Netting is done mostly as a form of commercial fishing and is very labor intensive.  In Luke 5:1-11 Jesus taught three fundamental principles of evangelizing by way of his disciples’ fishing experience. They just so happen to correlate to the three basics mentioned above.

1. Get in the Boat.

Luke 5:1-3  On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret,  (2)  and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.  (3)  Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. You can fish from the shore or bank or pier, but in order to consistently catch the big ones, you need to get in the boat. In many ways this verse implies the utilization of the right equipment for both fishing and evangelizing. Jesus could have easily taught from shore, but seeing that boats were available, He took the opportunity to use those boats. Now, having the best equipment will obviously yield better results, but the lesson is not in having the best equipment but utilizing the equipment you have. In order to teach more effectively, Jesus used the equipment he had, boats.

2. Go to where the Fish are.

Luke 5:4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” I used to believe that fish were everywhere in the water. All you had to do was throw out the line and eventually a fish would swim at the chance to hook up with you. However, as is the case with the disciples in our passage from Luke 5, if you’re not in the right spot, you can fish all night and catch nothing. Did you notice that Jesus told Peter, where to go? He commanded that they go to the deepest part of the lake. Jesus (the Creator) knew where the fish were. He knew without the aid of sonar or imaging devices. He knew without the clues of sunlight or the position of the moon. The principle lesson; know what/who you’re fishing for and where they will be. Peter is obviously no novice to the trade of fishing. He in some ways questions Jesus’ insistence that they fish in the deep Luke 5:5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”  But fish as well as human souls are not always where you think they will be, and we have to trust in the Creator to direct us to the right place and/or the right time.  What were the results of going where Jesus said to go? Full nets of fish! Their nets were so full that it took two boats to haul them all in and this to the point of sinking both vessels! The key to all of this is listening to the Master. It is at His directions, His words (the Bible), that when we listen and obey, the results are bountiful. Noticed that Peter and the other disciples not only had to go to the deep part of the lake, which was probably at least a 3 or 4 mile row, they had to then lower their nets. This would have been tiring exhaustive work, yet compelling, too God’s will, equals grand success.

3. Patience.

Even when you’ve failed, never give up.  The same words that Peter uttered in verse five conversely demonstrate his weariness and discouragement.  I’m sure that all they really cared about at that moment was to get those nets cleaned and hung up for the next occasion to fish.  They had been up all night and must have longed to go home, clean up, and rest. However tired and frustrated they were, Jesus commanded they go again.  Truly, our work is never finished. Brother R.J. Stevens is a great example of a worker for the Lord.  When it seemed that life had been cruel and had inflicted his wife with Alzheimer’s, he used it as an opportunity to teach souls. Instead of visiting her every day, he resolved that this was now his life as well and moved in with her at the nursing facility. This afforded him the time to visit many of the elderly patients as well as their families and the nursing staff. The gospel was proclaimed and souls were touched, some even to the point of accepting the Gospel. Who knows how many fish will be hauled into the boat in years to come from this tireless effort? It truly amazes me at how many fish are caught on the last throw.  When you’ve practically given up but decide to throw out one more time is usually the time you’ll find success. Suddenly, you’re not tired anymore and the discouragement fades away. Steadfastness and patience make for good fishermen.

                Let’s go catch some souls.

Darryl Fuller

On Guard

Bailey Fuller and WorkersMy grandfather was not a big man by any stretch of the imagination. He stood less than six feet and by my remembrance weighed little even soaking wet. He was a very quiet and unassuming person, silently keeping to his business. His education extended through 6th grade and no further. Being one of three sons, his father, who was farmer, needed his help in the cotton fields of south Alabama.  He would eventually become a foreman and overseer to a large orange grove operation in central Florida. The owner, Mr. John Hileman, provided him and my grandmother a place to live in the middle of the grove in Gibsonia, Florida. I remember this grove and farm vividly.  There was no fence or barrier to a large portion of the grove, especially to that which bordered the main highway.  Within the grove and property there were considerable assets that were vulnerable to theft or vandalism. One of the main concerns and duties of my grandfather was the protection of the grove and assets, which he took very seriously. Often, young people, out joy riding or just acting foolishly would venture into the grove and get stuck in the soft, sandy soil. Grandpa would climb out of bed, shotgun in tow, throw on his overalls, climb into his ‘59 Ford Galaxy and first rescue them from their foolishness, and then warn them not to return. I can still hear him telling Grandma, when he got back, “Just some dumb kids.” On more than one occasion the culprits were more sinister. The grove seemed to be a favorite for thieves who liked to go  steal vending machines, bring them into the middle of the grove, bust up the machines for the money, then leave the boxes for Grandpa to have to deal with. Thankfully, Grandpa never had to shoot anyone and no one ever shot at him. I like to think that my grandfather was a brave sort and to some degree, I believe he was.  He would, however, say that he was just doing his job, protecting his master’s assets.

I believe this is very much our calling from our master, to protect and defend that which He has entrusted to us. Paul told Timothy this very thing in 2Ti 1:13-14  Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  (14)  By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.  God has provided us with the ultimate gift; His saving grace sealed by the Holy Spirit. He’s provided us a Kingdom to dwell in (His church) rich with His precious assets; our souls. Now there are no barriers or fences to stop the world from getting in. It’s our job and our duty to guard those assets. It may very well demand that we defend and protect this precious gift at the most inconvenient and darkest times.  We may have to venture away from our safe abodes and confront the foolishness of the world head on. We will need to remember and try and help those in the world first, then after we have helped, warn them of their folly. However, paramount is to guard our souls, God’s precious gift.  It is His good will that we should be blessed richly through the blood of His son, who having paid the price, now shares His glorious inheritance (Eph.1:3-14).

Darryl Fuller