The word of God is so sweet and powerful that even nature is attracted by its power. Once upon a time there was a service at a Gennesaret seashore church.
Jesus was the preacher. His pulpit was a hired canoe belonging to a discouraged fisherman who was ready to fold up for bad business. The man had "toiled all the night," it was reported, without a single fish. He had the resources – good nets and a boat. He had the strength and the experience. He know the right time and place to do that business. He toiled in the night in the deep sea. He was not a lazy man who did nothing but wait to blame his failures on fate. He worked had. Yet, for all his labours at the right time in the right places with the right tools, he had the wrong results.
When Jesus asked for his boat, he had no hesitation to loan out for free the unfortunate business boat. In that boat he had known so much failure that if anyone thought he found a use for it, he was not going to hesitate for the fellow to try out his 'luck,' in case the boat would have other better uses.
That was the boat which became Jesus' pulpit during His sermon to the Gennesaret seashore congregation. That failed boat was going to be very useful in the Master's hand. In His hand, it became the instrument or avenue for a great miracle. As Jesus preached, all the fishes which had fled even the high sea while Peter was on duty, began to draw close in their droves to hear the gospel. They were all around the boat; they were everywhere under the waters, they were listening as Jesus preached.
Naturally, fishes – especially fishes of their category – usually stayed in the deep waters. But today the Master of the whole universe was having church for once in their territory. He was having church for once on water, not on land, and all the fishes had to troop down to church that day to hear their Creator's voice 'live' – a rare life-time priviledge. The word of God is a powerful attractive force.
After the sermon, the Lord was going to show appreciation to the despairing fisherman who had loaned Him his failed boat. The fishes were to help the Master pay that debt. So, while the men hurried home after church that day, the fishes remained behind to settle the Master's outstanding bills, sacrificially; with their very lives if need be.
Jesus then said to the depressed and nearly bankrupt fisherman: "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught." That was too ambitious and too sweet to be true. Peter protested: "Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing." In other words, "You are no fisherman. We know these waters too well to know that this is no place and no time to expect any fish, let alone a draught. We've already been through all those routes and can tell You that there is no business there." But he had to check himself and add: "Nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net." And he did. And to his lifetime surprise, it was as the Master had said. "The inclosed a great multitude of fishes" so much so that their nets began to break. The fishes had come to Church that day.
If even fishes would go to church, how much more you? If fishes would travel so far to an unusual shore, from their far away places in the high sea, only to hear the Master preach, what about you?
The word of God is a powerful force which attracts success and victory. Success is drawn to follow God's word. "Goodness and mercy shall follow me" (Psalm 23:6).
Has your boat failed? Try letting the Master have it, and your empty boat shall come back to you brimming over with more blessings than an eternal night of toil may ever yield. One cast of the net at the Master's direction will always be more fruitful that a lifetime to toil with the 'right' tools, in the 'right' places at the 'right' time, without the Master's guidance.
Even fishes will come to church when the master has your boat. As you do God's work, the fishes will come looking for you. You may no more have to spend sleepless nights to toil chasing them about in vain. Thank God, even fishes love to hear the word of God. Amen.
From The Preacher's Diary,
November 11, 1997.