I was reading the other day the Bible passage about the miraculous catch of fish at the end of John’s Gospel.
The passage starts with the words they had been fishing all night and they were tired and they hadn’t caught a thing.
I empathised here, sometimes it does feel as though we have been fishing all night, we feel tired and discouraged and it feels as though we either haven’t caught anything, or the catch is so much smaller than we had hoped.
it’s not just ‘bad luck’ these guys are experienced fishermen, they knew all about fishing, they were “Fishing Shaped Fishers”, experts and yet they had caught nothing.
Often this too is how we can feel, we know we have read the books, been to the conferences, even had times when we have been part of the time when great catches of fish had been caught in the past… but now all night trying and nothing to show for it,
Then this non fisherman from the beach suggests letting the nets down on the other-side of the boat.
what does he know?
He’s not a fisherman?
why should we listen to him?
It made me ask myself, have I got a bit stubbon?
Am I a bit set in my ways?
Do I think I know best?
Am I teachable?
Does perhaps my pride get in the way of seeing God work?
Yet these fishermen, swollowed their pride and they let down their nets on the other-side of the boat and caught the greatest haul of fish in their career?
It reminded me of the story of Naaman, a commander in the Syrian army with leaperousy for whom healing was available if he’d wind his neck in and wash in the murky river Jordan.
I wondered with mission whether I am reaching out in my way, or whether I am heeding his voice and reaching out his way?
Am I still attentive to the voice of Jesus calling out from across the water? Am I expectant to be guided?
Am I putting my trust in my teaching or my teacher?
The thing I admire about the disciples is they are still trying to catch fish even though they have had no joy all night, how often have we heard someone say “we tried and it didn’t work so we gave up went home, put the kettle on, and never went out again”… Yet they were at least still trying to fish.
How often do we feel like this, like we are tired, frustrated, disillusioned, run-down, broken and just wondering if all our work and effort was in vain? I know at times I do. Yet there is hope in this passage, that in the morning Christ calls out to us who are waiting and prepared and in the right place, a picture of faithfulness (ironically as they are here because they were faithless and deserted Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane) and we see the harvest reached and brought it, not by our power, might, expert knowledge but by heeding the words of our master.
when we hear new ideas do we think we know better, or do we ask ‘could God be teaching me something here?’
Do we need to be reminded afresh of our dependance of Christ?