Fishing net full of fishI try to stay away from large charter boat operations because of the crowded conditions. But occasionally, I will help guide a men’s group on one of these excursions. It never ceases to amaze me how one side of the boat will do better than the other. There can be several reasons for this phenomenon. The shadows cast into the water will provide better action to those fishing on the shaded side. The boat could be sitting on a contour allowing one side to be at a more preferred depth. The drift of the bait due to currents or boat maneuvering will also change the action and depth of baits on separate sides of the boat. 

In John 21 we find a wonderful story of how the resurrected Jesus directed his disciple fishermen to “cast their nets to the right-hand side of the boat.” The fish were on that side because God directed them to be there. He used this miracle to reintroduce Himself to the distraught band of believers who faltered after His crucifixion. When the disciples recognized that it was Jesus, they hurried ashore and found that He had already prepared a fish barbecue with all the trimmings. After breakfast He answered the disciples’ questions then pulled Peter aside to ask him a few critical questions. Three times He asked Peter, “Do you love Me?” Remember, it was Peter who denied Jesus three times during His trial before Caiaphas. Our loving Savior asked Peter to confirm his love for Him. Each time Peter affirmed his love with a deeper sense of passion and commitment. 

There are at least three facets to Christ’s questioning that we can apply to our daily lives. First, Jesus wants us to know that love requires both an attitude and action. Many believe that saying “I Love You” is enough. But if we truly love sacrificially, then we take on Christ’s attitude and actions by “tending His lambs.” We demonstrate our love in acts of kindness and service. Secondly, Christ indicates that there is an intensity to our love. With a Christlike love we bear with each other and forgive each other. Grace and mercy abound when our love is deep. Finally, when we truly love the Lord, we have His glory and His concerns foremost in our minds. We value Him above all else. He is the “pearl of great price.” He is the “treasure hidden in a field” for which we are willing to forfeit all else. As the Psalmist declared, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You.” (Psalm 73:25) 

If you’re fishing on the wrong side of a relationship and not receiving or giving Christlike love, then follow Jesus’ approach. It worked for those first century disciples, and it will work for you.

Scripture Reading:  John 21:15-19

Personal Application: If the Lord were to ask you, “Do you love Me?” What would be the proof of your response? In what ways would you like to grow in your love for the Lord and for others? Ask the Lord to give you His love. 

  Jim and Wendell signatures Jim Grassi, D. Min. and Wendell Morton

We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5