A Little Change Can Make a Huge Difference.
I love the story in John 21 where the disciples go fishing and meet Jesus. They fished all night and caught nothing. Then Jesus yells to them from the bank “Haven’t you any fish?’ “No” they answered. So Jesus 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.”
This story has some great lessons in it.
Sometimes the things we have always counted on just will not work. I imagine that they had been fishing there many times before. They were professional fisherman. They knew where to go to fish, but.. not this time. There was nothing. I have had times like this in my life. The things that got me through just didn’t seem to be working. It seems that sometimes my prayers didn’t get higher than the ceiling. It seems that the ideas and projects just fell apart. Every fisherman has a bad day. It is the nature of fishing.
However it is in the middle of the dry spell, when the fish are not biting, that’s when we discover that we may not be as good at fishing as we thought we were. Humility comes in the midst of trouble. Our problems show us that we are really dependent on someone bigger than ourselves. And when the fish aren’t biting, when the nets keep coming up dry, that’s when we learn how to really pray, or pray differently. That’s when we learn what real faith is. It doesn’t take any faith to celebrate the good times of life, but it takes real faith to say “God I trust you even when the fish aren’t biting.”
Furthermore, God may want us to fish outside our comfort zone. He may want us to change some fishing tactics. Jesus just said, “throw on the other side of the boat.” That is not really very far, probably no more than 20 feet. But if you know anything about fishing, just a few inches can make a big difference. Just a few changes in fishing tactics can change out outcome of the day.
All of us have our religious ruts we get into. Many times we just get caught in the ruts and fail to try anything new. Maybe God is telling us, “ this is not where I want you now, move to a different location.”
I think this is what Jesus wanted to show the disciples. If we trust in Jesus and do what he says, a few feet can make all the difference in the world. If we listen to him, one small prayer can bring a great victory. One change in behavior can impact the rest of our lives. It is during the dry spells that I have to ask myself, is this really where the Lord wants me to go fishing? Or do I need to just find a new place to fish? Have I been fishing in the wrong place? What do I need to do Lord? Where do I need to be?
You see, you never know if the next cast or change in location will result in a record catch.
When the disciples threw their nets to the other side, they had so many fish they could not even pull the nets back into the boat. They had to paddle to the shore to empty the nets, and the Bible tells us that they had 153 big ones.
You just never know what blessings the Lord has for you unless you take the risk, and throw your net out in faith and trust the Lord.
God is so good.