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From Failure to Success

In Luke Chapter 5: 1-11, we read the story of how Peter and his companions had been out fishing all night. When morning arrived, they had not caught any fish, and their night of toil ended in great disappointment and despair.

Into that scene appears Jesus and commissions Peter, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch. Peter’s initial response is, Master we have worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.

(Luke 5:4-5)

Truly, Peter was puzzled by the Lord’s request as Peter was the seasoned fisherman whilst Jesus was a carpenter. Further, Peter knew Lake Gennesaret very well as he had been fishing there for years as a commercial fisherman. Moreover, as an experienced fisherman, he knew that the best time to catch fish was at night and not during the day and he had just returned ashore after toiling all night catching nothing.

Despite this, notice Peter’s obedience to Jesus’ request. Nevertheless, at Thy word I will let down the net.

(Luke 5: 5)

Peter obeyed Jesus though it contradicted his own professional experience and judgment as a seasoned fisherman. Peter had absolute faith in Jesus and was willing at that point to forego his own experience, thinking and feeling. The result was such a magnificent catch that their nets began to break, and they were able to fill two boats with fish!

Indeed, a night of failure for Peter turned out to be a morning of success. A night of darkness and despair turned out to be a morning of transformation and success. Just as Jesus commissioned Peter to “Launch out into the deep”, He is asking us to do the same today. He does not want us to stay near the shore and satisfy ourselves by dabbling in the shallow and elementary basics of spiritual life.

Jesus does not want us to be lukewarm Christians wallowing in the shallow waters of complacency and lacking spiritual commitment.

Sadly, many Christians are only interested in the superficial and peripheral aspects of their spiritual life.

  • Jesus wants us to launch out into the deep because if we continue in shallow waters, we would be continuing to indulge in the elementary and the frivolous.

  • Jesus wants us to launch out into the deep and get into the depth of discipleship.

  • Jesus wants us to launch out into the deep and encounter the multitudes caught up with materialism, injustice, false teachings, moral laxity, political unrest and social oppression.

Jesus not only commands us to “launch out into the deep”, but also commands us to let down our nets for a catch. We are to let down our nets with the good news that deliverance has come to the world with the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross.

If we do that, we will experience what Peter experienced, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So, they signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

(Luke 5:6).

If as Christians, and as churches we are prepared to take God at His words and launch out into the deep, and let down our nets for a catch, God guarantees the results!

Like Peter, too many Christians have been fishing too long in the shallow unproductive waters. We have been using our secular business training and methodology, drawing out impressive programs and novel techniques for our church evangelizing program and discovering that the impact, if any has been minimal.

We have attractive churches and have been waiting for the pews to be overflowing, but alas we see the numbers stagnant or even dwindling.

We expect the Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and people of other faiths to come into our churches and occupy the pews, but will they? We loathe the idea of going into their places of worship, be it a temple or mosque, so why should we expect them to come into our churches?

The recent coronavirus pandemic with unprecedented lockdowns, has seen churches resorting to modern technology to reach their members. What a splendid God given opportunity to use the same modern technology as a means of evangelism as non-Christians now can have an opportunity to hear the gospel in the comfort of their own homes.

A national poll conducted during this unprecedent lockdown and economic distress in the United States found 22% non-Christians polled said that the current crisis is causing them to start reading the Bible and listening to Bible teaching.

Not only is there a spiritual awakening now in the United States, but I believe this is a phenomenon experienced all over the world.

What a unique opportunity and a privilege we Christians have now to launch into the deep and cast our nets; proclaiming the message of God’s love; showing acts of kindness to neighbours and friends.

In this way we will be sharing God’s love in practical and tangible ways.

Davidson James

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