When the fishing isn’t good

Published 4:56 pm Sunday, February 13, 2022

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One time, I was playing in a charity golf foursome. When it was my time to tee off, I striped one right down the middle. About 280 yards or so later, the others looked at me and one said, “Well, we know who’s gonna be teeing off for us every hole after this. Why don’t you knock it on and let’s get a birdie!” 

Holding up a finger, I said “Mmmm. you might not want to get carried away. Next shot, I’ll probably be off in the woods searching for my ball. I’m afraid I’ve got all the shots in my bag, and you just saw one of the good ones. You’ll see them all before the day is over.” 

More than 20 years ago now, I was a young North Carolina minister dispatched on a piece of Baptist business. I was to go and have a meeting with a well-known pastor up in Richmond. This man served a large, affluent church. He was also established with his long tenure there and had become one of the most powerful business people in all of Richmond. 

I’m not sure what I expected. But I can assure you I hadn’t expected his reply when I met and asked him how he was doing. First words out of his mouth, as we shook hands, were “Well, I got two new bird dawgs and one of ‘em ain’t worth a dang!” I asked for clarification and he said, “The dawg just won’t bird!”

Some golf shots, you’ll hit a bad one. Some bird dogs, they just won’t bird. Even professional fishermen know that on some days, the fish won’t bite. You can try your best, you can do your part, but they won’t bite. 

Here was Jesus in Luke 5: 1-11 surrounded by a large crowd. They were pressing in on him and tugging at him. Many of them had heard about what he could do. Now, they wanted to see the show. They wanted to see him, watch him do a miracle or three and hear him say something profound.

Jesus understood basic acoustics. So, he used what he had. Now at this point the guys were following Jesus a little, I suppose. But they still had the keys to the fishing boats. They were still doing some fishing.

Jesus got into one of “the fishermen’s” boats. No name used at first here. But low-and-behold when he finished teaching, and please notice that we don’t get a solitary quote from what he taught just then because it wasn’t the point, Jesus wanted to talk about fishing. 

I don’t think the guys wanted to talk about fishing. They were done for the day. They were washing their nets. Now, the rabbi was urging them to take him out to deeper water so that he could do some after-class fishing. 

I don’t want you to miss what happens next. Their nets were full. This is a miracle story, at least if you need it to be. I happen to think it’s something even more amazing and powerful than that. If you want to jump into the deep-end and splash around with the rest of us, then you’ll need to get past the entertainment. Because the power of the story comes next. The thing that you or I could take with us into our week is here. 

Peter got it. He got the power of what was transacting here. He got down on his knees in a boat and bowed to Jesus. I don’t think that would have been easy to do. If he had called Jesus “Master” before, now Peter was repenting and telling his Lord that he wasn’t worthy of being in Jesus’ presence. 

How long has it been since God has gotten your full attention? How long has it been since you admitted to God that you weren’t worthy? How long has it been since your faith led you to be amazed and to put your trust in God through Jesus Christ? 

Some days, you just can’t hit a golf ball straight no matter what club you try. Some days, the fishing isn’t too good. Some days, the dog just won’t bird. All the while, Jesus says to every last one of us “Follow me. Just trust me one time. Follow me and I’ll show you a better way to fish. Follow me and I’ll show you something even more important to fish for. Follow me and I’ll show you a power even better than your own.”

DR. CHARLES QUALLS is senior pastor at Franklin Baptist Church. Contact him at 757-562-5135.