The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Fishing is a huge part of the economy of Alabama. This is where Bass Anglers originated. Alabama has been the home of several National Fishing Tournaments. Some of the largest suppliers of artificial bait are located in Alabama.

Fishing became the backdrop for one of the great lessons of life. Luke 5 tells how Jesus looked for a way to teach a huge crowd. There were a couple of boats nearby. He took one boat to stand on. He looked over at the other boat and saw some fishermen. They had been fishing all night and had caught nothing.

Jesus gives them an interesting fishing strategy. He tells them they need to put down their nets on the other side of the boat. They looked at him in shocked disbelief. They figured he might know a lot about preaching and teaching, but obviously he didn’t know anything about fishing. They had already fished those waters and there were not any fish there. They also knew that what few fish there were would have gone toward the shallow waters. They thought they knew the science of fishing.

One of the biggest problems God has with us is that He gives us a directive for life, but we give Him a lot of reasons why His logic is wrong or we think we’ve got a better idea. Moses gave a litany of excuses when God ask him to go speak to Pharaoh. Naaman had excellent human reasoning when God’s servant gave him the formula for being healed of leprosy. The disciples were experienced fishermen and they couldn’t believe what they heard.

Then comes a great response – “nevertheless they put their nets on the other side of the boat.” (v.5) Nevertheless – what a powerful word. It ran against the grain of their human reasoning, nevertheless they were going to do what Jesus said.

A huge lesson I have learned about life is that God always knows what is right and He is always right. My responsibility is not to question Him, but to obey Him. Nevertheless – they put down their nets.

I propose we start an NTL-nevertheless-movement. Young people might say “everybody else is fooling with alcohol, drugs, sex, etc.” nevertheless I will be different. Men and fathers might say that society condones “a man being unfaithful to his wife” nevertheless I am not going to participate in that sin. Women might recognize that society sometimes condones “getting what you want by the means that you want to go to to get it” nevertheless I am not going to participate.

The NTL-nevertheless-principle always pays off. We become obedient to God and God has even greater blessings in store for us. Faith takes on a new dimension when and relationships grow rich and are filled with meaningfulness when we practice the NTL-nevertheless-principle.

Look at the result of the NTL-nevertheless -principle in Peter’s life. They put down the nets, and there were so many fish that the nets could not hold them! They filled up their boat and another boat and both boats were so full they started to sink! What a result!

I have heard some fish stories in my life, but never a fish story like this. Fishermen are not known for always telling the complete truth. Last year when BASS had its National Tournament here, they had a referee on each boat that went out to insure that the fish were properly caught. They didn’t trust the fishermen. At the National Crappie Tournament held here in Montgomery, over 300 boats went out to compete. Since there were not that many referees, each fisherman had to take a lie detector test before he or she could present their fish for weighing!

This story exceeds any fish story. It is simply an example of what God can do when we practice the NTL-nevertheless-principle.

Join the movement! Practice the principle! Get a bigger boat to get ready to contain the results!


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