Insanity has been described as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time.”
According to that definition, golfers and fishermen are crazy. They go out time and time again to the same spot, and they have learned to expect a different result each time. Sometimes the golfer hits par and comes home happy. Sometimes he hits a tree or the rough or the water, and comes home vowing to never golf again.
Fishermen also go to their favorite spot time and time again. Sometimes the fish are biting and they catch their limit. Sometimes the fish are asleep and they come home empty-handed.
A few of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen. After Jesus died and then rose again, He had appeared to them at least once. Perhaps Peter and some others wanted to ‘keep busy’ while they waited for Him in Galilee as He’d commanded them. Perhaps they thought things would never be the same, even if He was alive. Whatever their reasons, they decided to go back to their former occupation.
These were fishermen who knew what they were doing, however, they fished all night—and caught nothing.
“But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?”
“They answered Him, ‘No.’”
“And He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.”
There is a lesson here. They needed to learn that now their lives would be different. They could do nothing apart from Him. Even things that they used to do well would now require His direction and blessing.
This is one hard lesson for me to get a passing mark. I used to draw and paint. Now I have to be told if, when, and where to apply that talent, and must pray for wisdom and grace if my efforts will be pleasing and useful. It is the same with everything else—teaching, preparing to teach, any other ministry, writing, editing, graphic art, quilting, gardening, all church-related service, personal and family relationships, leisure activities as well as volunteer jobs and those few for which I am paid.
Jesus said, “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” and He meant it. He controls the fish, the fruit, and any other results of what I do. He might ask me to do the same thing as before and then change the outcome, or He might tell me to do something new or add a different twist to it, and surprise me with the results.
Some people, even golfers and fishermen, might say the Christian life makes no sense, is even ‘crazy.’ I’m tempted to throw their lifestyle back at them and say the same thing, yet by that one definition, I have to agree with them!