It was after the Resurrection, and Jesus had already appeared to the disciples and others. Now a group of seven disciples were by the Sea of Tiberias. The Bible records what happens next:
Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will also come with you." They went out, and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus therefore said to them, "Children, you do not have any fish, do you?" They answered Him, "No." And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you will find a catch." They cast therefore, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved (John) said to Peter, "It is the Lord." And so when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. (John 21:3-7)
Peter and the other six disciples were at the Sea of Tiberias, and it's obvious they were waiting for the "What's next" in their lives. Not content, however, to merely wait, Peter goes back to the skills which Christ had called him away from those few short years ago. "I am going fishing", he says.
So many times we Christians wrestle to find great things to do for God. We fail to recognize the truth that God most often comes to us while we're doing the routine things in life. This is particularly true for men and women who meet Christ during adulthood, or see our childhood belief spring to new life. Our newfound zeal presses us eagerly forward in a search to express our joy and gratitude for the work of Christ in our lives. Sometimes this causes us to abandon our commitment to the details of our lives as we seek to do big things for God. Better to imitate the disciples here at Tiberias. Joyful at the news of the Resurrected Christ, bewildered perhaps by what it meant for them individually, they waited for direction rather than rushing forward on their own. And while waiting, they went back to work doing what they were skilled at doing.
Now, wouldn't it be marvelous for our work/faith devotional here if the Bible recorded that the disciples were wildly successful at their job during this period of waiting? Wouldn't it fit neatly into our message to describe how God blessed their work while they waited? Instead, the Bible records their efforts produced nothing but net. No fish, no return on their invested effort.
Sometimes the work of our hands will not bring us success. Sometimes even in faithful service, even in the earnest desire to honor God with our labors, we may still fail. It is in those moments that it's most important to remember it isn't the actions or the results that most bring glory to God, but the condition of our hearts. A desire to serve God glorifies Him even when there's no visible evidence of results.
Even failure brings Him glory when our hearts' desire in the effort has been faithfulness to Him. Even empty nets can be used by God to reveal Himself more fully to us, or to others around us. We serve a Savior who loves us enough to reveal Himself to us in the wake of lost jobs, difficult bosses and hard-fought fruits wherever we labor.
Courage, then, must be our watchword. Courage, perseverance, and confidence in the risen Lord.
Michael Carter, Realtor Greenville, SC www.beachboyrealestate.com