Archive for April 11th, 2007

Empty Nets

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Today’s scripture: John 21:4-14 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Jeff Miner):

This passage continues the story we began yesterday. Ashamed and discouraged, Peter is thinking about returning to his old profession of fishing. He has recruited six of his closest friends to join him in the boat. “But that night,” verse 3 says, “they caught nothing.”

At daybreak, the risen Christ appears on the shore and calls out a question. Notice the unusual wording of the question, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” Clearly this is less of a question than a statement. Jesus is trying to make a point. These seven disciples are where they weren’t supposed to be – returning to their old fishing ways. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that they’re not going to be successful as long as they’re in that mode.

Then Jesus offers a suggestion. “Throw your net on the right side of the boat.” They did so, and caught an enormous amount of fish. Now the teaching point is complete. When we do things our way, the going is tough, very tough. When we take care to listen to God’s voice in our lives, everything seems to work better.

All of this reminds me of when I first came out and started dating. I figured by age 28 the best days of my life had already passed me by; I had to hurry up and find a spouse before I was aged and decrepit. So I took matters into my own hands. I made impulsive, hasty, unwise dating decisions. I was operating out of a scarcity mentality — “there are so few quality people in the world, I’d better grab the first halfway decent person I meet.” As a result, I ended up dating several wonderful people with whom I was woefully mismatched. Despite all my efforts to catch the right man, my nets were empty! How frustrating!

It’s a funny thing. When I stopped worrying so much about finding a spouse, relaxed, and started focusing more attention on doing what God wanted me to, that’s when I stumbled across David Zier. We became friends working together on a church ministry team, dated a couple years, and eventually married. We are a wonderful fit. This September we will celebrate our 17th anniversary. What a catch!

Thought for the day: Where in your life do you feel like Peter — investing enormous energy, but gaining no meaningful return? Is it possible you’re not managing that area of life the way God wants? What would happen if you stopped pressing so hard, and instead listened for God’s voice of leading?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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