Friday, August 3, 2012

Fishing on the other side of the boat

If you walk in my office, you'll find a 3' x 3.5' painting of the disciples fishing out in a lake.  On the shore you'll see a dozen footprints in the sand with the waves lapping up against them.  This is from John chapter 21 where the disciples after fishing after Jesus' resurrection.  After casting their nets out all night and into the morning, they have not caught one fish (since they're professional fishermen, this has to be a low point for them).  Then what happens?  Jesus walks up on the scene and tells them to throw their nets off the other side of the boat.  They do, and their nets overflow with caught fish (as a side note, I'm kind of impressed that the professionals actually listened to some random guy on the beach telling them to do something as arbitrary as throw their nets off the other side of the boat; seriously, would you or me actually do this?  I'd probably get frustrated and throw a rock at the guy.  As if they hadn't tried that yet?!)

Years ago, Kim painted this picture for me to help me remember that my job is to simply throw out the fishing line and God will be the one to bring in the catch.  It's helped me make it through trying times when it feels like the wheels are falling off and I've run out of steam entirely.  It's helped me focus on my calling rather than the results of my occupation.

It's good to remember that we aren't responsible for success- God is.  We are to walk the path He has given us and that is it.  Whether it leads to success or failure, wealth or poverty, we are to walk the path He has provided.  And by doing so, we experience the joy of living with Christ.

In April/May my business slowed dramatically as I began to run out of contacts in which to connect.  I became frustrated and stressed, partly because of financials, but mostly because I had the desire and time to serve others, yet couldn't find anyone to serve!  Then in June, I somehow received the idea (was it my idea, someone else, God's?  I really don't know) to reach out to people I had never reached out to before.  Largely through Facebook and other social networks, I began circling up with people from years and years ago.  And what has happened?  Suddenly there are plenty of people to reach out to and my boat is overflowing with fish!!! 

It's so difficult to see God at work when we're in the midst of it.  But, when we reflect we see the masterpiece of the story He is creating.  2-3 years ago Kim painted me this picture to keep me in the game.  I had no idea that years later, God would ask me to throw my nets on the other side of the boat and bring in a great catch just like is illustrated above my desk.

It's a blessing that I get to serve so many great people.  It's even a greater blessing that I get to serve simply because I listened to God telling me to call on people I had never called on before.

Is Christ moving you into a time where things are drying up?  Maybe it is because He is leading you to step out in faith on a new path, for a new purpose, with a new group of people?  Maybe He's putting you in a situation like me of frustration and desperation to also give you the joy of hauling in a huge catch which you had no part in creating.  You just get to haul it in and then swim to the shore to meet back up with Him.