I was told early on, especially by grown men, that the sport of golf would teach our kids a lot about life. Over time it became evident that golf was their sport of choice and, eventually, I found this statement proved to be true. On the Front 9, having very little knowledge of the sport, I also found that it took a while for me to know what “lessons” would be learned.
The longer our kids have played the more I have realized what those apparently seasoned golfers and wise people were saying. The game of golf does teach many lessons and offers many parallels to what happens in life.
As I reflect today on lessons learned, I’m reminded of the story in Luke chapter 5. In verse 5 we read, “Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.'” This is the story of Simon Peter fishing all night only to return with empty nets. Jesus was on the shore and observed the fishermen cleaning their nets rather than cleaning fish. After teaching the people, Jesus told the fishermen in verse 4 that they should go back out and “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
In golf you can work very hard for days, weeks, months, even years, and not win…you see, a “good catch” for a competitive golfer is to win a golf tournament, not just shoot a good score. Wins for most competitive golfers are very infrequent. Many times a golfer is told to “keep blinders on.” Be encouraged not to compare or look at anyone else but to keep working and keep their eye on their goal.
So the lesson is…..hard work, perseverance, patience, and a deep, personal belief in what you are working toward.
Peter listened to Jesus. After fishing all night, after having just cleaned the nets, he went back out and cast his nets into the deep waters just as Jesus had suggested. Because Peter and the other fishermen listened to Jesus…they caught so many fish their nets started to rip! When Simon Peter witnessed this he fell to his knees and said, “‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’ For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken.” (verses 8-9)
I imagine Simon Peter and the others were embarrassed that they had listened but were grumbling and doubting Jesus. They obeyed reluctantly and without much confidence or belief!
The question for me and for you is this: How much do we listen to Jesus? If we do, do we believe or do we doubt? Do we obey reluctantly and with grumbling? Or, are we missing our purpose in life and casting our “life net” in the wrong waters? In shallow waters when we should be putting our nets in “deep” waters? We have to answer these questions individually and honestly.
The significant point to take away from this very powerful story is this: Jesus knows and will tell you where to cast your “life net!” His desire is for that net to be “full!” So full that your net is ripping.
Too many times we disregard Jesus in the plan for our lives! We work hard “all night” for days, weeks, months, even years, and yet our nets are empty. Why? Maybe we aren’t hearing or seeking His direction. If we are, we must have faith to persevere and to work hard, knowing we have heard Him and trusting the “catch” will come.
Right after the “big” catch, Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” (verse 10) Jesus redirected Peter’s life to be a disciple. God’s plan for me or for you may not be to stop our current job or profession but it could be…only God knows.
It is our job to seek Him, listen to Him, obey Him, and trust Him in the process.
I Chronicles 22:19, “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God…”