It’s a most unusual scene. The boat is filled with professional fishermen. They’d fished all night and caught nothing. Something that would be unusual for this group of fishermen, who had fished this lake many times and successfully earned their living. So as a fisherman myself (of sorts), from personal experience, the first thing that happens when you aren’t catching fish is you begin to try different things, hoping to discover the one which will prove successful. In my mind, this had happened this night. Nothing is more frustrating for a fisherman than trying everything and nothing works. This is why I concluded this to be an unusual scene. So, let’s fast forward this story in John chapter 21 and see what happens next. After a frustrating night, the guys haven’t given up yet and are still at it as morning strikes. Suddenly, in the midst of their frustration, a voice from shore instructs them to cast their net on the other side of the boat. This can’t be a novel thought. Surely, they have cast their net on every side of the boat throughout the night- and caught nothing. So, they complied with the advice; and now as Paul Harvey would say “for the rest of the story.” After casting their net on the other side of the boat, they caught a “boat load” of fish.
Well, considering the voice from shore was that of Jesus, the outcome comes as no surprise. But there is something to learn from these brief verses of chapter 21. Sometimes you must be willing to be adaptable and change your plan. Now is a challenging time for churches everywhere. With the mass exodus of those who have gone back into the world, it’s time for the church to rethink what we do and how we do it. It’s time we realize perhaps we too need to cast our net on the other side of the boat and let God determine the rest from there. There is an old adage in business which says, “if you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”
More on this next week.