When you give up and go fishing

Thoughts on John 21:1-14

I said I’d die for you and then I denied you. I ran to the tomb on the news that you were raised and found it empty. I was in the room with the other disciples during the times you appeared, and I wasn’t singled out, I was just one one the few. Mary got your special engagement, even doubting Thomas got your one on one attention. Me, I’m just one of the crowd. Before you died you called me Peter, the rock, the one on whom you’d build your church and now, we barely have eye contact. Maybe my denials put me out of favor with you and your plans. I give up. Before you came along I was a great fisherman, if I’m not going to be a player in your game, I may as well go back to Galilee and resume my fishing career.

Dammit, I used to be a good fisherman, but I’ve been at it all night and not even a nibble. And this clown on the beach is telling me to fish on the other side of my boat. I’ll do it, so I can prove the clown a fool.

What! A boatload of fish! This seems familiar. Once before when I did what I was told by someone who didn’t know a sardine from a talapia, I pulled in so many fish the nets almost broke.

Of course, goody two shoes, John, is the first to recognize you. And then I look more closely and I see it is you. Without thinking I’m out of the boat and swimming to you.

We exchange no particular words at this time, but I am quick to do as you ask. I bring you the fish, and allow you to feed me. You are sending me a message. This haul of fish was meant for me alone. It’s almost a reenactment of the miracle you performed on the day you asked me to follow you. Your message penetrates my thick skull. I am one of the crowd and at the same time special to you. This satisfies me. Thank you.

How frequently I assume my screw ups disqualify me from your grace. How often my ego expects to be singled out, elevated, paid attention to. How regularly I assume I can manage on my own, take care of myself. Lord, you let my insecurities, my ego demands, my false self carry out it’s patterned habits but you do not abandon me to them. You wait on the beach, giving words of life and encouragement, when I pay attention I hear your particular message, our secret code word for the love we share. Running to you, obeying you, letting you feed me is sufficient. I am content. 

Addendum: Dear Friends, perhaps you can relate to my prayerful musings. Maybe like me you assume God is unhappy with you; or get your feelings hurt when you are overlooked; or you attempt to control your life out out of anger or just plain old forgetting that God is God and you’re not. My suggestion to you is to hear God’s voice of love speaking to you in a very unique way. Run to Jesus, sit with him and let him feed you. Blessings.