With a sigh and a sudden, “Let’s go fishing,” Peter stood up and headed out. The others looked at each other and shrugged, “Let’s go with him.” Out on the water, breathing the salt, swelling with the waves and wind, these men went back to what they had always known. I hadn’t realized until recently that they did this after they saw the resurrected Lord. After they knew He was alive, active, and fulfilling His words. They could barely wrap their minds around what had happened…so they went out to fish.
I want to stop them. I want to tell them they are being short-sighted — they had just witnessed the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord. Why were they fishing? Could they not be telling others about the resurrection? Or preaching? Or healing? Something that would be more in keeping with the monumental events they had just lived through?
If I had tried to stop them, I wonder if Peter would skirt around me and simply say, “The kids need to eat.” I don’t know if Peter had kids, but he had a wife so he could have had children. He might have been providing for his in-laws too. Was there anything wrong with fishing? No. There’s nothing wrong with doing what’s right in front of you.
None of us would argue that Peter had a different work to do, and it wasn’t fishing for fish. But it wasn’t time yet. That night, he just did what was obvious. And that morning, the Lord would meet his physical needs — then his spiritual needs. Peter needed his heart-need met first, before he went out to fish for men. He needed breakfast with Jesus.
There’s nothing wrong with doing what’s right in front of you.
They had tried their best and fished all night and caught nothing. Then, at the Lord’s command, they caught 153 large fish. But those weren’t the fish Jesus cooked for them.
The Lord simply provided what they thought they needed to gather for themselves — fish for their nets and fish for their bellies. They had fished all night and caught nothing. Have you fished all night? And caught nothing but wind? What are you fishing for? He told them to let their nets down on the other side, then He gave them their fish. But He did more than that. He gave them direction for the future. He gave them a purpose, a calling. What are you looking for? Fish? Or direction? He has both.
Then, after Peter was fed, the Lord gave him those memorable instructions: “Feed my sheep.” Jesus has just fed him. Now Peter was ready to be sent to feed others. And he did. We never read of Peter fishing for fish ever again.
Maybe you’re not sure what to do with life. Maybe going out fishing is all you know to do. Go. There’s nothing wrong with doing what your hand finds to do. But if you’re hungry, searching, wondering what God wants, then maybe it’s time for breakfast with Jesus. Come back to the beach, sit down and be fed. The Lord has a job for every one of us, but we can’t do it until we’ve been fed.
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
I confess I often start my Bible reading by desperately trying to dig up something, anything because I’m so hungry. But He needs to feed me. I can bring all my 153 fish like Peter did on the beach, and He’ll still feed me from His own prepared food. So ask Him. It’s so humbling. So hard to resist the social media messages and newsfeed in the early morning hours. Instead, just read, ask for food, and linger. Are you hungry? Come, eat and be filled.
“Pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah” (Psalm 62:8).