Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Campfire: Second Evening
Did you enjoy the fishing today? How many of you actually caught fish? And if you didn't, did you still enjoy the experience??
We're going to continue the fishing theme with our devotional tonight. What does fishing have to do with humility? - you might ask...
Well, plenty, if you can't catch any fish! ;)
But seriously, let's consider a story about a fishing miracle:
Humility and Miracles
When you think of fishing in the Bible, do the gospels come to mind? Some of the disciples had been fishermen before Jesus found them, and were still found fishing even after Jesus died and rose from the dead. Consider the account in John 21, when some of the disciples went out fishing, but "that night they caught nothing" (v. 3). In the morning Jesus called out to them and asked, "Children, have ye any meat?" And they responded, "No" (v. 5). So Jesus told them to "cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find" - and "they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes" (v. 6).
The disciples had to admit that they had "failed." They hadn't caught any fish. Having spent hours at a time fishing with my family, I know that it really is disappointing when the fish aren't biting. It's humiliating to go out of your way to catch fish and then not catch any! And to think - we fish for pleasure. While fishing might have been "pleasant" in some sense to those disciples, I'm pretty sure that catching fish meant much more to them. It meant food. For some, it meant a livelihood and a way to provide for their families. So I'm guessing a night of catching nothing was not something to be proud of.
The disciples had to experience what it was like going a whole night without catching fish to truly experience the miracle of catching a ton of fish (153 fish, according to v. 11). Why?
The humbling thing about miracles is that they don't occur because of our own strength or genius or prowess. They occur because of God's power and goodness and love. They occur in order to bring God glory. Not us, but God.
About a year and a half ago I wrote about my very own Christmas miracle - the almost-horrible trip home for Christmas break that turned into an amazing testimony of God's provision. I met a friend who kept me company during the long wait at the San Francisco airport, helped us get a ride back to our hometown when our flight was cancelled, and watched out for me to make sure I was alright. The long delays, the flight cancellation, the late-night drive with virtual strangers... Nothing I could do was going to change the fact that I was not going to be able to fly home that day, nor the fact that unless someone reached out to me and helped me along, I was clueless. The miracle didn't point to my own intelligence or abilities. It pointed to God's mercy and the blessings of friendship that He gives us.
Can you think of any other connections between fishing and humility? (Feel free to be creative and stretch the connections a bit!) Do you have any miracle stories that you can share with the rest of us that can remind us of how amazing God is?