Monday, April 13, 2009

Familiar Fishing

John 21:3 Simon Peter said to the other disciples, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will go with you." They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, "Children, do you have any fish?" They answered him, "No." 6 He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. 8 The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

Jesus had already appeared to the disciples twice, so they knew He was alive. The conversation must have been fevered as they were trying to figure out what all this meant to them. What were they supposed to do now? "Jesus is alive, but how does that look to me"? He had taught them so much; cared for them, provided for them, but what was He calling them to do?

Peter, ever the leader, may have been restless, so he tells the others that he is going fishing. Whenever there is a time when a man doesn't know exactly what to do the fall back is often going to work. This is what Peter knows how to do, and the others figure that if Peter is going back to work, maybe they should to. Some good "man-time" in the boat, talking about the Lord and fishing. The sea air, the smell of past fishing trip all around them, fish slime, fish nets, the feel of the oars in their hands, the sounds of the water slapping he bottom of the boat, all these memories flooding their minds again. But this time, Jesus has to be the topic of conversation, as He should be in our lives everyday.

These were very experienced fisherman, not rookies like me. They knew exactly what to do, but they fished all night and got skunked. Not 1 fish. Really, not 1 fish? I can equal that:) Morning breaks, the conversation was still good, but no fish. Jesus appears on the shore and tells them to cast the net on the other side of the boat. I guess when you haven't caught anything all night you will take suggestions from just about anyone, even a "stranger".

How absurd it must have seemed to just throw the nets on the other side of the boat. This was not a big boat. There was probably only a few feet from one side of the boat to the other, and what difference would a few feet make, when they had been fishing all night? They did it anyway and oh what a surprise. Can you imagine their faces? From no fish, to the nets are going to break in one minute and a few feet.

John, who never names himself, figures it out immediately. Who, but the Lord, has this kind of power and wisdom? There is none like Him. Peter isn't waiting for them to get the boat to shore. Out he goes, but this time he doesn't have to walk on water, because the boat is close to shore. "It's Jesus, He is with us again".

Peter so wants to be near the Lord that he leaves the full nets and the other disciples to finish the work of getting the nets in and the boat to shore. "Who cares about fishing when the Lord is here"?

What started as a call to be fishers of men, some 3 years previous, has come full circle and Jesus is calling them out of the boat once and for all. They had been trained by the Master Fishermen and they were ready to start their real fishing now.

What a sweet breakfast it must have been. What a great reminder of Christ's call on each of our lives to be fishers of men, while we go about our daily routines. His call to us is that we proclaim the Good News. The call is to be doing that right where we are, right in the fishing boat, on the lake, at the breakfast table, what ever it is that we are doing right now, is where we are to be talking about the Good News; living out the Good News.

We men like to compartmentalize our lives, separating each item into its own slot and not mixing them, but this one thing should be mixed in with every other slot. Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might, but add the Gospel to it. This is how disciple making takes place. This is hard for me, as I have a lot of years doing it the other way to get over, but God is faithful and even in showing me this I can see His working in my life.

How are you doing with this? Are you taking the Gospel to those around you, while you are going, or are you waiting for the perfect slot to put it in? Don't wait.

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