Bulletin October 2021
by Bruce Billington
Let’s Go Fishing
Psalm 119:73-74 – “Your hands made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments. May those who fear You see me and be glad, because I wait for Your word.”
After a real hectic time and all that they had been through, John 21 records Simon Peter telling his friends he was going fishing. Most of the other disciples agreed to go with him.
A couple of years ago, as I flew home from yet another trip away, I was thinking about all the things I love doing in my own time that were languishing. The big pile of books beside my chair waiting to be read, the wonderful opportunities the Spring season brings for photography, the fun and laughter sitting around the dinner table with my family, the many movies and music waiting at home for me to enjoy and the lovely comfortable chair I have in my loungeroom to relax in.
Yes, I know – you can all relate to this one way or another. I was almost starting feeling sorry for myself. I know at times we look at our neighbours with some degree of envy. They have their nights and weekends to do whatever they want – including nothing if they so desire.
So, what are we to conclude from this? Does it mean that we have missed it? Some would say yes.
But then I read the above verses and got lost in the thought of what the Psalmist is saying. Do those who see you suddenly become glad? Do they feel secure? Do they find a place of refuge or comfort when you sit with them? Do they gleefully take the opportunity to access the depth of what God has invested in you, that helps guide them on their journey of life?
I know that for many of you this is true. How come? Because this is the life we have chosen. We heard God call to us and we responded. At that point we started a journey that enabled us to discover who God is, who we are, and the purpose for which He created us. The reward of knowing these things and being allowed to play a small part in working with Him in the expression of His Kingdom is beyond any cost we are called to pay. It is the true meaning of life and means a lot not only to us, but to those around us.
As the apostles were out fishing they noticed someone on the beach calling to them. He told these very experienced fishermen that they had their net over the wrong side of the boat! They must have been so sceptical as they really did know how to fish – but they responded and caught a huge catch. Meanwhile, they also noticed this person had already cooked some fish for breakfast.
Immediately they concluded that it was the Lord and they ran to Him. At that point, after sharing a meal with them, He told them it was not the time to go fishing – not for fish anyway. He commissioned them to go and do the things He had purposed for them in life. It would cost them everything, including ultimately, their lives. But none of them considered going back. They went full on from that point, pursuing the calling He had placed upon them.
Largely because of Covid, most of you are in a time of change at the moment. You may have some sense of what it is God has purposed for this new season of your life – or you may still be in the place of seeking Him in this regard. However, be assured – God’s call is upon you. He knows where you are and when He considers you are ready He will come for you. Your preparation is not for a one-off event. God is preparing you for a journey with Him where you can bear good fruit in every situation you find yourself in (John 15).
It may well mean that you won’t get to read some books, listen to some music or go fishing as often as you would like. But it will mean you will get to discover who you really are and why you were put on the earth at this time. You will get to learn so much about God as your Father and subsequently, about yourself. As you do this the fullness of His blessing will begin to overtake you.
There is nothing more rewarding – how could there be?
One of my Biblical heroes is the apostle Paul. It is hard not to cringe as we read his brief description of some of the things he went through in life (see 2 Corinthians 11). Beaten and whipped, stoned and persecuted. We all know that he did not have to do this just to get to heaven. But something had taken hold of him and constantly drove him on. Paul had got in touch with his calling in God and claimed that any sacrifice he had to make to fulfil it was “as dung” compared to the joy of knowing who Christ is and what he was called to.
God is no man’s debtor. He wants us to work hard and give Him our all. In return He puts us on a journey that contains for us things greater than the eye has seen or the ear has heard. Work hard, keep your study going, get on the journey and stay on it. You will find you are on the greatest adventure of all and your life will always have meaning and purpose. While you are doing this, constantly look for opportunities to encourage others as they do the same.
God bless you.