“Jesus called to them, ‘Children, have you caught anything to eat?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Cast your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ So they did, and there were so many fish that they couldn’t haul in the net.” John 21:5-6 CEB
There is a purpose to almost everything in life. Most activities have a desired outcome and we enter into the activity in the hopes that the desired outcome will be achieved. We go to high school to learn and earn a diploma. If we go to college it is to earn a degree and achieve a career. If we go to a trade school, it is to learn a skilled trade in order to build a career. We take swimming lessons to learn how to swim. If you want to lose weight you watch closely what you eat, and you exercise purposefully. When you go fishing you expect to catch some fish—and potentially eat them. When the disciples went out fishing after Jesus was crucified and laid in the tomb—I am certain there was a purpose. One purpose may have been to return to what was familiar as many of them were fishermen before Jesus called them to be disciples. Another purpose may very well have been that they were hungry. Another purpose was for Peter to return to the place of his calling as he tried to make sense of all that had happened. Whatever the purpose was, there was a purpose.
When Jesus called out to them, “Have you caught anything to eat?”, it was a question of purpose. Jesus' question of purpose had many layers. He called out to them to inquire if they had been successful in catching any fish—the purpose of fishing. Jesus called out to them as an invitation—can we cook some fish and eat together. Jesus also called out to them to show them he was alive. As Jesus called out to them, he knew that they had been fishing all night and not caught as much as a minnow. Jesus knew that they were frustrated, searching, and lost in the wake of his crucifixion and burial. When Jesus called out to them, they did not know it was him and did not expect it would be him. However, when Jesus called to them they answer—just as they had done three years prior in a very similar location.
The awesome thing about Jesus is every word from his mouth had a mission. Jesus called to them and asked a question of purpose, “Have you caught anything to eat?” What Jesus says to them next is missional … “Cast your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” Jesus reminded them that they couldn’t go back to their old ways anymore—everything had changed, even fishing. Jesus reminded them that they could not rely on their own knowledge, experience, or skill alone—they needed Jesus to direct their purpose. Jesus reminded them that a part of the purpose is to share meals together, to build relationships with each other, and—most importantly—to keep their relationship with Jesus strong. After all, this is why Jesus was born of a virgin, healed the sick, raised the dead, died for the sins of the world in a horrible death, was dead and buried. Jesus did all of this so that those who follow him would be able to be in relationship with God by grace through faith in Him. Jesus demonstrated what it meant to be missional and he wants the exact same thing for His Church.
So, how will you be missional today? How will you live on purpose for Jesus Christ today? Where will you look for opportunities to be creative in casting your net? With whom will you share a meal today? Grow a friendship? Live life with? Will you take at least one step toward the purpose of being missional? Go over and talk to your neighbor. Invite a coworker to lunch. Call up a relative you haven’t spoken to in years. Be innovative in following after Jesus today and strive to give life to at least one person who needs it. This is what it means to be missional—to love God, love neighbor, and make disciples. Go be missional today.
This Sunday we begin a new message series entitled, “Being Missional.” We will explore the way Jesus calls for his believers to live. We will explore the purpose of the church. I hope you will join me this Sunday at 8:15|NINE45|11:15 a.m. for worship. You can also go to SAUMC.NET and join us via livestream. The best is yet to come. I love you all and can’t wait to see you in church!