A large team of skilled, dedicated and very committed people put PCC together every week. A guy I know who's been coming to PCC for a while, recently started serving in the 'booth', learning to run sound. He said to me several times yesterday, "I just had no idea how much goes into making these services happen. You guys put in a LOT of time up here!" Yes, we do. Not just staff folks, but servers who volunteer hundreds of hours because they believe in what we do. If you believe in what we do and you call PCC your church, we need your help. Let me know - email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll help get you plugged in.
But after a day like yesterday, I find myself exhilarated and exhausted at the same time. So, I think I'm going to take the day off today and go fishing.
Which is exactly how we find Peter as John winds up his book. Peter had been hearing the reports of Jesus appearing. In fact, Peter had actually seen Jesus twice already (see ch.20). But the events of the past few days also left him in need of some re-group time. After the unbelievable events Peter had witnessed, including his own personal failure of denying Jesus in the moment when Jesus needed him most, Peter was a blender - spinning on high speed - churning a recipe of guilt, wonder, excitement, regret, anticipation, guilt, questions, fatigue, and fear. Can you imagine just how he felt? He needed to clear his head.
"I'm going fishing" he said.
I guess his friends could relate. "We'll go with you" they said.
That was probably the quietest fishing trip in history. I bet nobody said anything. They were all thinking, processing, and not catching a thing - which didn't really matter much...or maybe it did.
I wonder if the fishing was really about a decision. Think about this now. Jesus was gone. They knew who they were with him, but who were they now that he was gone? The temptation, of course, was to return to the way things were, and they were fishermen. There was a pull there for them. It would have been easy to just go back to the old life - the old habits, the old ways of thinking, the old 'me'.
If they had caught a boatload of fish that night, I bet their minds would have started to resolve to 'go back.'
But they were reminded, for one of the final times, that Jesus' resurrection leads to His presence. He is alive, but He is not gone. He is here. And His presence should make every difference to us. In a tangible way, Jesus demonstrated that to Peter and the gang that day. He told them to cast the net, even though they had caught nothing. They complied and caught the mother load. Then they knew: I can't go back to the old life. Living life with Jesus is better that the old life. Far better.
For me, there is an occasional tug to live the way I used to. Sometimes, I fail. I lashed out at a friend last week. That was the old me. I still sometimes neglect my family. That's the old me. I'm not always as devoted to what God wants me to do as I should be. That's the old me. The tug is there.
But I think, in hindsight, I'm becoming more like the person Jesus wants me to be over time, even it the progress is slow...even if I take 3 steps forward and a step or two back. That's still moving in the right direction.
So, I'm going fishing today. But not to wonder about the old life. Rather, I'm going because my family needs some time. Because I need to reflect and think and ponder and pray. And in it all, I know this: Jesus' presence makes all the difference. The question is: Am I responding or ignoring? Am I casting my net when He tells me to, or am I looking the other way?