Fishing Lessons: Patience and Persistence
Updated: Aug 2, 2019
I've been told I’m patient and persistent. Well, you couldn’t prove it by my approach to fishing. I’m not a fisherman. I lack the needed patience and persistence.
You would think I’d find sitting there waiting for fish to bite relaxing. Nope. You would think I’d enjoy reeling in the line, and casting it out again time after time until a fish became interested in what I was offering as bait. Nope.
The Fishing Metaphor Fits
However, I appreciate the significance of fishing as a metaphor for being patient and persistent in pursuing our goals in life, as we strive to fulfill our God-given purpose in life. Consider this scripture from Luke 5:4-6.
“When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.’ When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.”
God Is Always Teaching Us Patience and Persistence
Luke's Gospel account of Jesus telling Simon to cast out the nets despite their fruitless efforts, teaches us how we should live our lives as his followers. This passage especially teaches us about being obedient in patience and trusting in persistence.
When Jesus instructed Simon to put out in deep water, he knew exactly where to send them, and it was not the shallow waters where the apostles normally fished and felt safe. They had to venture further out into deeper water. They had to take a risk, as we have to occasionally do in our Christian walk.
The apostles had already worked hard all night without success. They had done all they could do. Simon and his partners were probably ready to give up. It was time to call it a day and return to shore. They had been patient and persistent, but they were about to give up.
Despite a slight hesitation, Simon obeyed Jesus and let down the nets. The result? He and his crew had to call the other boat for reinforcements, the catch was so overwhelming.
They obeyed Jesus, took a risk and experienced success. They had been patient and persistent throughout the night, but that wasn’t enough. They needed Jesus to guide them and challenge them.
God Knows Exactly What We Need
The Lord knows exactly what we need to do to fulfill our God-given purpose each step of the way. We look at what we have tried to do without success and the challenges ahead. When the Lord looks at us, he’s looking at a future he controls and of which he is already aware.
He directs us to "put down the nets" again and again, despite previous failures and concerns about the future.
I wonder what would have happened during my futile fishing adventures with my children, had I asked the Lord where to cast out my line. Come to think of it, perhaps that’s what my little daughter was doing. She would reel in one after another.
Listen to God’s Words
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. (Psalm 37:7)
For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. (Proverbs 24:16)
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
Also read: Proverbs 12:27, Luke 11:9-10, 2 Thessalonians 3:13
In the Words of Others
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill
“It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down. All that matters is you get up one more time than you were knocked down.” Roy T. Bennett
“Character consists on what you do on the third and fourth tries.” James Michener
Think About It
Can you recall a time when you kept trying despite failure, thinking the next effort could be successful? Why?
Describe a time when you acted without hesitation when you determined it was the Lord’s will, even though it was against your “better” judgement. How did you feel about it at the time?
Has it been difficult for you to totally trust the Lord in helping you make decisions? Recall a time when you should have trusted the Lord but went your own way. What was the result?