As the story goes, Peter and the other disciples fished all night with nothing to show for it. Early the next morning, Jesus called to them from the shore. Confessing their failure, Jesus gave them a great tip. Cast the net on the right side of the boat! Had it been anyone else they would have dismissed the advice. Since it was Jesus, they obeyed. Suddenly, the fishing trip became very exciting. The once empty nets were now bulging with fish to the breaking point.
I believe this story contains some life-lessons for those who have reached a plateau professionally or personally where there seems to be little if any progress. Take out your Bible and follow along as I identify five life-lessons from this story.
1. Just because something worked before doesn’t mean it will always work (v3b)
Peter, James, and John were experienced fishermen. They knew all the tricks of the trade. They were doing what they had always done, but this time it wasn’t working. They were not catching any fish.
2. Face up to reality (v5)
They fished all night and had caught nothing. When asked, they could have made excuses. They could have denied the fact that their nets were empty. Instead, they admitted the obvious. Denying reality is not an act of fact. To improve, we must be willing to face the facts.
3. We must embrace change (v6a)
The answer was not for the disciples to quit fishing, but to change the way they were fishing. With few exceptions, methods are dynamic and are always changing. The disciples needed a change in methodology.
4. Obedient action resulted in success (v6b)
The disciples didn’t change just for the sake of change. Realizing the problem, admitting the need, and receiving a plan from the Lord, they acted in obedience. The results were off the charts.
5. The credit always belongs to Jesus (v7a)
The disciples could not take credit for the great catch of fish any more than we can take credit for the successes that come into our lives. Like John observing the miracle, we must always conclude, “It is the Lord.”
If you have reached a plateau in your life, don’t just sit there bemoaning the fact. Seek the Lord for a new plan of attack and take action. It will probably require change (like casting the net on the other side of the boat), but the results will be worth it.
Pastor Todd Weston