Read John 21
Focus on verse 3
In most of the places that I have lived in my life, it has usually not taken too long for me to find a place that one might call “my thinking spot”. Back home on the farm it was a big old rock in the northwest corner of the back pasture. It was a quiet pretty spot that lent itself well to having knock ‘em down drag ‘em out conversations with God. If you know anything about conversations with God you also know which of us it was that ended up being knocked down and dragged out. The cool thing about God is He typically did it in a way that built me up and made me stronger as a result.
In today’s reading we find the disciples retreating to what may well have been their thinking spot. It had been a wild weekend! They had a wonderful time as they celebrated the Passover with Jesus in the upper room, followed by the horrifying experience of seeing Jesus arrested, tried and crucified. By this time most of them had also seen Jesus at least once since his death and burial. They had a lot of stuff to sort out and think through. Peter chooses to do what any fisherman in his position might do. He goes fishing!
Simon Peter said to them, “I’m 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. (v. 3)
So they fish all night, and they catch nothing! Need I remind you that these are professional fisherman we are talking about here? One would think that with their experience and expertise they would at least catch a few scrub fish, but no, they caught NOTHING!
As the morning breaks and they are about a hundred yards off shore after a frustrating night of catching nothing, they see a person on the beach in the morning haze. This person has the nerve to ask them if they caught anything, and when they say “no” he tells them to try once more on the right side of the boat. It is only after they realize that they have more than a boatload of fish in the net that John says to Peter, “uhm, I think that might be Jesus.”
This whole scenario is not unlike what happens when I go to my thinking place to discuss my issues with God. For most of the time – it seems like a whole lot of nothing, but if I wait and listen long enough, Jesus shows up and things start to happen. Somehow when Jesus is around, my world begins to make sense again, at least in my head. I’m pretty sure the rest of the world – who aren’t hearing what Jesus just said to me think I’ve lost my marbles, but that doesn’t matter to me as long as Jesus is around.
Perhaps the key principle in all this is not that complicated. The closer we stay to Jesus the more we will accomplish, and we will feel less like we are lost and confused, and sometimes the way to get there is just to drop everything and go fishin’