From Fish Flop to Star Fisher: a Fresh Look at Failure and Success

Peter and his companions fished all night and caught nothing. No sleep, aching backs, and slimy green nets provided no clue that this fishing fiasco was about to launch Peter into something beyond his most cherished dreams.

While Peter scrubbed his nets Jesus taught the crowds on the beach. Seeing the idle boats, Jesus asked Peter to push off into the water so He could teach from the boat. After finishing His teaching, Jesus asked Peter to go into deeper water and let down their nets.

The scripture doesn’t reveal Peter’s thoughts, but his words indicate he was not in the mood for another fruitless fishing expedition. “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:5 NIV).

I’m sure you remember the story. “When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” … Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people”’(Luke 5:6-10 NIV).

If Peter had been successful fishing the previous night would he have been too busy managing his success to take Jesus out in his boat? Peter’s failure provided the setting for this miracle with Christ.

For what have you worked so hard without any tangible success? Have you tried to rescue a rebellious child, regain your health, secure a promotion, or land a new job, and it all seems for naught? Maybe you are on the edge of a miracle.

The greatest success in Peter’s fishing career followed a disappointing flop. Yet when Jesus called him to fish for men, he left his most amazing success and followed Him.

What importance do you place on temporal failure and success? Real success is measured by how closely we follow Jesus.


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Thank you for your prayers for Larry’s cataract surgery. It went well and his doctor gave him a good report today. We are praying for his vision to improve as the swelling goes down.

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  1. Earle Finley


    Again, great spiritual insights. So glad Larry’s cataract surgery went well. We are praying for his total and complete healing.


    Earle & Sara

  2. Tara Furman

    Debbie – Love it! Great perspective. Glad Larry’s surgery went well.
    Love, tara

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