What's the Catch?

What’s the Catch?

I have to confess, I’m not much of a fisherman. Especially when it comes to deep see fishing. The one time I tried it I ended up seasick. I’ll spare you the detail. Let’s just say I had my personal ‘Carnival Cruise Gone South’ episode. Not only that, I didn’t catch a thing. Thankfully, God has called us to be fishers of men and not sea creatures. I hope this excites you as well. If not, maybe you’ll get hooked after reading my blog.

“And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.” John 21:16

I wonder what the Apostles thought when it was suggested they cast on right side of boat. After all, these were expert fishermen. It’s what they did for a living. “Who’s he to tell us how to do our job?” I can hear them rant. Not realizing at the time that he was Jesus, the idea of switching sides must have sounded ridiculous. Were these Republican fish? Is that why they all gravitated to the right? Is this what you call a conservative school?

Joking aside, the whole idea sounds silly – as if one side of a boat would offer a better catch than the other. Nevertheless, these seasoned fishermen gave it a go. As a result, their nets were so full they could barely muscle it aboard.

You see, friend, it’s not a matter of being on the left or right, as if one side were better. It’s a matter of being where Jesus wants you to be. That’s the correct side, whether here or there. If you’re coming up empty, the question is: Where have you cast your net? And secondly, did the Lord place you there?

One indication that you’re where the Lord wants you to be is – there won’t be a lot of striving to make things happen. While on their own, the apostles strived all night and into the morning. It got them nowhere. They caught nothing. That all changed once they listened to Jesus. The fish jumped into the net! The only striving was when they hauled in the catch. So, there was hard work involved. But it wasn’t the Apostles hard work that caused the fish to jump into the net by the gazillions. It was the Lord! John was the first to recognize this.

“Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” (John 21: 7)

This should be our response. If it’s truly the Lord’s work then give Him the credit! Sadly, this isn’t always the case. There are instances when we are the ones creating the work. And because we created it, we want credit for it. That’s when we know we’re on the wrong side of the boat. You might even say that we’ve missed the boat completely.

I like to think of the church as a fishing boat. Our task is to cast the net and trust God to fill it. When He does, we haul it to the feet of Jesus. It’s a big job sometimes. But notice, it’s God that creates the work, not man. That would be “striving in the flesh” which is a foolish thing to do. I don’t mean to sound harsh. I’m only echoing what Paul said when he wrote to the churches in Galatia:

“Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3)

We’re all prone to make this mistake. It’s easy to fall into cruise control after a successful launch in the Spirit. We think we can improve the Lord’s work with our clever ideas and creative programs. We sweat. We throw off our cloaks. We become like Peter who was fishing naked when Jesus called out to him. Yes, we’re in the flesh. Striving. Going overboard. And the Lord calls out to us, “You’re missing the boat! Come over to my side.”

Where do you find yourself today – on the empty side? Have you worked yourself into a frenzy only to catch nothing? Perhaps you’re on the wrong side of things. Should that be the case, Jesus calls out to you. Can you hear Him, my tired friend? Shhh. Listen. It’s Jesus. That’s His gentle voice whispering:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

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