Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Clean your boat; mend your nets; share your fish

Fisherman and his catch, Seychelles. The fishe...Image via Wikipedia
Clean your boat; mend your nets; share your fish

The account of the fishermen in Luke 5 is a good place to learn about leadership. The Bible is a fundamental book where we all can glean wisdom and knowledge from time to time, whatever season in our life, whatever era our culture is.

The whole night was spent, and the fishermen caught not a single fish.

Jesus saw the empty boats.

The fishermen were washing their nets at the shore. I’ve seen how this happens, and it is a dirty work. The algae that collect at the nets as they are submerged in the water will (1) clog up the path for water to freely flow, and (2) render the net ineffective. Therefore, fish will not be caught. This mandates a ‘cleaning of the nets’ on a regular basis. If they were lumberjacks, that would resemble ‘sharpening their axe’.

As the crowds pressed in on Jesus, he thought of getting in on one of the boats. He then asked the owner to push out a bit to the water. Jesus made sure that the crowd can’t press in on him further, or risk getting wet. He also has something else in mind.

Mentoring for Mission: A Handbook on Leadership Principles Exemplified by Jesus ChristWhen Jesus has finished speaking, he asked Peter, one of the fishermen, to launch into the deep and let down his nets.

Jesus is a carpenter by profession, and he is telling a fisherman to fish, what's more, ‘during the day’.

What follows next is an unexpected turn of events, from where we can glean several insights, both as followers and leaders:

Clean your boat

Jesus on LeadershipOften in our daily life we tend to collect and keep big things and small things. We use the worthy things, and ironically, hold on to the things that has little or no value at all. This we keep in our boats. And when the huge catch comes, we have no more place to put the fresh fish in, no room for the bountiful catch. Let us clean our boats of unworthy things, big or small.

I like how my former choral conductor puts it, “I have to clear my account of any leftover cents, unless it dilutes the new outpouring of blessings.” As Paul says it when he talked about baking and leavening, he admonished the Corinthians to “clean out the old leaven” and create a new lump. During that time, a small piece of leavened bread is cut and kept, for new lumps to be leavened with that small piece. Question is, since when was the first leavened bread made? Who knows when? Let us clean our boats of old lumps.

What’s done is done, what is past is past. Let history do the recording of the events, but learn your lessons well. Let us clean our boats of past failures and successes, and move on.

Mend your nets

In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian LeadershipAs fishermen whose primary tool is their boat and net, they have to clean their boat – and mend their nets. Aside from cleaning their nets, they have to look for areas that have broken strings, and mend that part. What would these all mean to us?

A clean net is lighter compared to one that is laden with algae. It is not a burden for the fishermen when the net is to be cast. Therefore,
  • A clean net will need less force to be carried;
  • A clean net will not present additional burden to the fisherman;
  • A clean net will need less energy when being cast;
  • A clean net can be thrown more easily at the right spot;
  • A clean net will not sway the fisherman’s direction.

And while a broken net will cause some or many fish to slip through, a mended net will ensure that the catch will comprise of fish of all sizes. Therefore,
  • There will be no missed chances;
  • There will be no slip downs;
  • There will be no regrets.

Leadership Lessons of Jesus: A Timeless Model for Today's LeadersOpportunities are seized and made good use of. What’s more, mending the nets is akin to sharpening the axe. You don’t do it when you are working. You use some of your free time to mend your nets or sharpen your axe. For a student, it is ‘burning the midnight oil’. You study when you are supposed to be sleeping. You use up your oil, your resources, to keep you up during the night, to gain what you usually lose by simply sleeping on. An employee simply does further skills enhancement during slack times at work. If you wait for training to come, it will not. And as it is always said, chance favors the prepared. Be proactive. Be self-motivated. Prepare yourself by mending and cleaning your nets. Wasn't it a coincidence that Peter was on his boat while the rest were ashore, cleaning their nets?

Share your fish

Finally, there is nothing better than for us to share our fish. Just like Peter, who had his bountiful catch, which strained his net to the point of breaking, he immediately called out to his fellow fishermen to help him haul up the harvest. His net is mended and his boat is clean. But that just didn’t suffice. Therefore,
    Jesus on Leadership Leader Wkbk
  • Don’t conceal your blessings. Don’t think you can ‘cause you can’t; If you try to, and people find out, you’ll be put under suspicion, and when you really are down and in need, people won’t believe you either.
  • Share your blessings. Your boat can only contain so much. What you don’t share will either be unused or wasted, while many are in need. Don’t burden yourself of hoarding up what can be generously scattered and thankfully received.
  • Acknowledge your Source. Many of us will say that the things we acquire in life, the achievements, the properties – everything – is all but the fruit of our labor, our sweat and blood. But if God were to stop the free air we are breathing, where would we be? We can accomplish all that we can, and more, but at the end of the day, we should be humble enough to know that God is our Source, our Provider.
  • Give thanks to the Master. And we should be thankful that God chose us to be the vessel for which his bounties are passing down and passing through. We can be the best in our field of expertise, the first in our area of knowledge, and this is so because God has granted it to us. “As he giveth, he can take away”. Let us not be destroyed by pride and vanity, but rather, we should be humble and thankful, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6). If men look up to you, and you hold a position of high esteem, know that it is from the Lord: “For God is the judge. One he putteth down, and another he lifteth up” (Psalms 75:8)

Final thoughts:

Growing Leaders: Reflections on Leadership, Life and JesusJesus is a carpenter, and Peter is a fisherman. And it was day – unlikely the time to fish. Yet Peter obeyed without reservation Jesus’ command to launch into the deep, and cast the nets. Let us be like Peter.
  • Don’t fear the deep – the opportunity you have been waiting for may just be there, waiting.
  • Don’t be afraid of the unknown – we all live each day, each step, fearing our lives away, only to say, “If only I have known…” Life always has its failures and successes delicately balanced, allotted to each and every one of us.
  • Be willing to listen. This is not always happening, but at the right time, at the right place, an unknown or a nobody just says the right word, expresses the real situation in words that you can hear and understand, and though it strikes no rhythm at all to what you know, listen up. Be humble to give it a thought. And if it won’t cost you a limb, do what is being suggested. It just might work, and mightily!
  • Share your blessings. Proverbs 11:24 says, “A man may give freely, and still his wealth will be increased; and another may keep back more than is right, but only comes to be in need.”

Brave Enough to Follow: What Jesus Can Do When You Keep Your Eyes on HimFor a better understanding of this article, read Luke 5 in the Bible. if that doesn't suffice, read through all the others books. That will surely help you to clean your boat, mend your nets, and to share your fish.

God bless!

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