Tuesday, December 08, 2015


Consider the last chapter of John.  Jesus has risen, and he has shown himself to the disciples. At the beginning of chapter 21, Simon Peter, Thomas the Twin, Nathaniel and the sons of Zebedee were fishing on the Sea of Tiberias.  Jesus appears on the beach.  He says to them, "Children, you have no fish, have you?...Cast the net to the right side of the boat and you will find some."  They do what he tells them to do, and then they were not able to haul the net into the boat because there were so many fish.

In this passage, Jesus reminds them that what they are doing is not being productive.  And then - do something different.  What you are doing is not working; try something else.

How often in the life of church do we continue to do the same thing, without alteration, and without results?  

Had the disciples noticed that they weren't catching any fish?  Probably, but even so, Jesus has to point it out to them, and receive their agreement that, no, what they were doing wasn't being productive.  Were they self-deceptive?  Were they ignoring the lack of results?  Were they standing in the boat sharing stories of how many fish they used to catch doing the same thing? Are we ignoring our lack of results in ministry?  Do we stand around, remembering the "glory days?"  Do we need someone to draw our attention to what isn't a fruitful ministry?

And then, he tells them something "radical" - do something different.  Change what you are doing.  It is a reasonable piece of logic - don't keep doing what you have been doing if it isn't yielding results - do something different.  I wonder if they said, "But this is the side of the boat we always fish from!"  

So, they changed.  They moved the nets to the other side of the boat.  It wasn't an illogical thing to do. It made sense.  It wasn't just change for the sake of change. They listened to Jesus, and they followed his leading. Do we sometimes just make change for the sake of change, desperately trying something new without investment in discernment or without the hard work of determining the best course of action?

Where is God calling us to do? How do we need to change?

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