Jesus said to them, "Children, you have no fish, have you?" They answered him, "No." He said to them, "Cast the net to 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 there were so many fish. John 21: 5-6 NRSV
This scripture has been rolling around in my head lately. Perhaps it is because I will be going back into parish ministry in two months. I have served four churches so far in my ministerial "career" but I can only see all the mistakes I have made. This time I want to do it differently. But not differently in terms of how I think it should be done. Differently in how Jesus tells me to do it.
I really admire how the disciples - many of whom were professional fishermen- listen to what Jesus tells them. What would Jesus know about fishing? He was a builder, a worker of stone and wood. He could walk on water but his fishing skills are never brought out in the scriptures. I think my first reaction would have been: "What is he talking about? He doesn't know anything about what we are doing? We've been fishing all night long! I'm not going to listen to that stupid suggestion. You aren't supposed to fish on that side of the boat!" If I had obeyed him at all, it would have been with the most reluctance.
But he is the resurrected Jesus. He has been through torture, betrayal, death and now new life. I think the disciples must have seen something in him - some authority, power or knowledge that made them obey his words.
Or perhaps something had changed in the disciples. Peter only recognized Jesus after the fish are hauled in. Maybe that meant that the disciples were more open to suggestions. Could it be that they realized that what they were doing was beyond their capabilities? Could it be that being filled with the Spirit had loosened them to a new way of thinking?
I want to do things in the new way that Jesus asks me to. Would you join me?
God, we want to do so many things our way. Help us to listen and try things - even the most impossible and crazy things- YOUR way. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2009 Amelia G. Sims