Back to Basic

Last Monday I took leave to go fishing.

We were out on a boat in the open South China Sea. The fishing activity was slow. There were few bites. We were bored.

Then we saw two Indonesian boats anchored near to us. The men on the boats were fishing as well. The only difference between them and us is that they were hauling in huge tenggiri (Spanish mackerels).

We eyed them with much envy of course but with great interest. We wanted to know what they did right.

It seemed they were using the simplest method of fishing – hand lines. In contrast we were using the latest state of the art equipment – expensive rods and reels. We were using live fishes as baits. They were using dead fishes. It baffled us that the tenggiri would prefer the dead fish to the live ones. Their hooks were humongous and their handheld lines were thick. Our hooks were much smaller and our fishing lines were thin but strong in order not to spook the “smart” tenggiri.

At the end of our long futile efforts, we conceded a simple hand line beats all our expensive and sophisticated fishing gears. It is so basic.

Many of us resort to every complicated ways and means to land the hope of our dreams. But what usually works is the last thing we try – prayer. It is so basic.

God acts when we pray. He can do far more in five seconds than we can do in five years. Yet we give so much premium to self-reliance, careful planning, human expertise and diligence.

The Word of God reminds us in Psalm 127:1-2

“Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives to His beloved sleep.”

Three times we are told, “it is vain.” We need to get back to the basic of praying and utterly dependent on the Lord for ultimate success.

Jesus says in John 16:24

“Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

Prayer is basic to our Christian living. Let’s get back to basic.


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