Sunday, March 6, 2011

Where should I cast my net?

The sermon at church this morning got me thinking. The Pastor expounded on the last chapter of John where Simon Peter and the others go back to their fishing careers after Jesus has been resurrected. John records one last encounter with the Christ.

Here's verses 3-4 to help set the scene:
Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing. They said to him, "We will also come with you." They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
What caught my attention was found in verses 5-6:
So Jesus said to them, "Children, you do not have any fish do you?" They answered Him, "No." And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch." So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. 
Now, the rest of the chapter has a lot of other great stuff too, but this is where I stopped. The thought that popped in my head as I read this was, "Where should I be casting my net?"

If I cast it somewhere other than where Jesus tells me to, I will obviously not have a very successful catch. But I have the potential to catch a "great number of fish" if only I would listen and cast it where He tells me to. So, the questions has to be asked, "Hey Jesus, where am I suppose to be casting my net?"

I should probably clarify at this point that I'm not really talking about fishing. I'm talking about fruitful living. I'm talking about living the life that Jesus asks me to live—abiding in Him and bearing fruit for His kingdom!

Sometimes I feel a little like the disciples in the boat after a long night of empty-net fishing. I'm tired, discouraged, hungry, and maybe a little hopeless. I don't know what to do next. I'm here, I'm ready, and I'm waiting for that next step to be revealed. I'm clueless.

It's interesting that the disciples were so close to the abundant catch Jesus had for them. They were just on the wrong side of the boat! What is that, like maybe ten feet off? Apparently, ten feet makes a huge difference in fishing . . . a difference of about 153 fish. (NOTE: I have no idea how wide the boat was.)

But the real difference was heeding the voice of Jesus. They had been doing it all on their own. They were stuck and ready to give up. They had produced no "fruit" for their efforts. But when they heard Jesus' voice and followed His direction it changed the outcome of that fishing trip completely!

I desire nothing more than to follow my Lord whole-heartedly. And part of following Him is waiting. His timing, His plan, and His ways are perfect. But today, I can't help asking, "Jesus, where do you want me to cast my net? What do you want me to do? Where do you want me to invest my time, energy, talents and money? What fruit am I to bear?"


Sheryl B said...

I enjoyed hearing what God spoke to you about this passage. It should be obvious, but it is so easy to miss the obvious. You listened and heard. I always wondered why Peter went back to his old life after being with Jesus and experiencing the amazing things as he walked in His steps. The waiting is the hardest part! "What now?" So Peter, being a doer, did what he knew how to do. Jesus used what he knew how to do to open up a whole new world to Peter. A world of ministry and miracles! Thanks for sharing..."and now the rest of the story..."!

Anne said...

I wonder if sometimes our Creator desires us not just to take orders, but to experience the joy and freedom of discovering things on our own -- as long as we stay within the parameters of what we know is pleasing to God...

Suz said...

This is great Emily. I have been realizing lately, that even the "small" things of my day are things I can ask Him about- as He's given His Spirit to counsel and guide us. For example, I have two different invitations for one evening... I can ask Him to show me how He wants me to use my time. Seemingly small, but learning to ask and rely on Him in EVERYTHING is something I'm learning right now. Good reminder to be asking- and He promises wisdom... and also to "light our path"... but notice He doesn't promise to light the whole road- just that next step- at least that's the mental picture I get. Otherwise, we wouldn't need to seek Him...