Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore [of the lake while the disciples were fishing], but the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish…When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread…Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.”
From John 21
I’m pretty good at a few things in this life, but my dad can attest to the fact that I’m a terrible fisherman.
During my early years my father would take time away from his work to sit by a river with a fishing rod in one hand and a cup of tea in the other. If grandma had been baking recently, there would be a mouthful of fruit cake in the mix too.
I always disliked fishing but for some reason I would forget this between fishing trips. I jumped out of the car, enthusiastically bait the hook, throw a line in and wait.
Patience continues to be a bit of a struggle for me, as it was then, for I would not last long waiting. My recollection seems to suggest that I would patiently wait for hours before giving up but I suspect it was closer to minutes. I would start endlessly throwing out my line and reeling it back in quickly. My dad would shake his head in amusement as I inevitably gave up and went walking instead.
As I think of the disciples in the story, I wonder how they felt when a strange bloke yelled out to them to change the way they were fishing. After all, these disciples knew how to fish, and seriously, what difference would it make to throw a net on the right side of the boat instead of the left?
A great deal it seems from the story for a great deal of fish turned up. It seems that in addition to being the Son of God, Jesus knew a bit about fishing too.
When was the last time you found yourself in situation where you had been toiling away at something only for someone to come along and quickly show you how to complete the task far more quickly, efficiently and easily? If this hasn’t happened to you recently I suggest you grab a young person, have them watch you work with an electronic device, and then watch as they mercilessly show you a simple way to do something you’ve been doing wrong for years!
The thing about God is that he knows that we are prone to go about things the hard way. By nature we try to do things alone, not want help, and desire to work harder rather than smarter.
When we are caught out trying to do things without God’s help the good news is that Jesus invites us to breakfast too. He doesn’t have condemnation for us or even get frustrated. He is happy to help and happy to enjoy the fruits of success with us too.
As we move towards a new year may we not forget that our value is not in how perfect we are or how quickly we can get something done. Our value comes from a God who created us unique, with various strengths and weaknesses, and loves walking alongside us as we try to do our best in this often confusing and frustrating world.
As our year draws to a close and you read my final principal’s note, allow me to wish you and your family a safe and blessed Christmas.