It was a warm, balmy night and sweat trickled down their temples as they waited quietly in the inky darkness. The nets were slung low over the side of the fishing boat and to pass the time, the disciples whispered to each other, hardly daring to move in case they disturbed the fish.
They were worn out, it had been a torturously long night and there was not a single fish in the nets.
Nada. No catch meant no fish to sell at the market which in turn meant no wages for the week ahead.
It was not a thought anyone relished. All that effort, all that hard graft, all the blood, sweat and tears. All for nothing.
As dawn broke and the boat was eased back to shore, Jesus suddenly appeared on the beach.
Alright chaps? (I imagine he said). Catch anything?
A boat full of weary, crestfallen faces looked back at him. Not only had they suffered the worst few weeks of their lives after watching their best friend Jesus executed, they’d endured 3 days of torture not knowing if he was dead or alive. And now this man (who at first they didn’t recognise was Jesus) was standing on the shore cheerily asking them if they were ok.
Incredibly, Jesus WAS alive but they were oh-so-tired, worn out from the emotional roller coaster. And now, there was nothing for breakfast and a pretty dismal-looking week ahead.
No. They said.
Put your nets down on the other side of the boat. Jesus said. You’ll find some there.
The disciples quickly scrambled the nets round to the side of the boat, threw them over and suddenly, everything changed.
Unexpectedly, the nets began to fill up, teeming with a catch so huge, so incredible, that John 21:6 says, ‘they were unable to haul the net in’.
And it was all because of a change in strategy.
Sometimes our lives, businesses, circumstances, churches (insert whatever you like here) can get stuck in a rut. We’re trying, planning, praying, working so, so hard but we’re just not seeing the fish. It’s frustrating, it’s confusing and it can be hard to not get depressed and defeated.
Why aren’t things changing? I’m following the instructions. I’m doing all the right things.
And then Jesus turns up and says, ‘Why don’t you try the other side of the boat? Things will start to change when you approach this differently’.
Sometimes we can get so focused on the plans and strategies we’ve created for ourselves, that we fail to see the huge possibilities right under our noses.
Maybe we need to change the strategy?
For some, the changes will be huge, but for others it might just be a tweak in perspective, starting to look at the situation in a new and fresh way.
Albert Einstein once said that the ‘definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again, and each time expecting a different result’.
Perhaps it’s time to change the way you’re approaching your circumstances? What if there’s a huge amount of fish just waiting to be caught, but they’re on the other side of the boat?