Sunday Morning Services

Traditional Worship: 9:00 am

Praise Worship Service: 11:05 am

Fill Your Net by Fishing Where Jesus Wants You to Fish

Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish.

— John 21:4-6

The sun wasn’t coming up. In fact, it was setting. It was Halloween and the final night of pumpkin sales at our church’s Pumpkin Patch. I drove through the parking lot to share my appreciation with one of the faithful pumpkin couples who had worked many shifts that month.

“Thank you so much for your commitment to the Patch.  Your sacrifice has not gone unnoticed.”

“Actually,” he responded, “I’m kind of sad. It’s our last shift.”

There was nothing in the tone of his voice that was anything less than sincere, but I could not hold back my chuckle. The past week had been cold and wet. How could I take him seriously?

“Don’t laugh. I really enjoyed my time in the Patch. I felt like I was making a contribution. I got to meet some new people and had some great conversations with our neighbors.”

I needed to remember that interaction. The Patch is a lot of work. At Church Council recently, I was asked to report the Net Sales of this year’s Pumpkin Patch. I cringed inside. Sales had been up over the previous year every day of the month until the last two days. 2016 had crazy sales on the final two days. We did well this year, but our sales slipped slightly behind 2016.

We also had some additional costs as a result of a delay in the delivery of the pumpkins, which extended the rental period for the fork lift. Even though we had fewer lost pumpkins due to rotting, our cost for composting also skyrocketed. Our net proceeds of $2,730.65 were more than $1,000 less than that of 2016. I could not hide my disappointment. I did not want to talk about the Net …

“Cast the net to the right side of the boat …”

There’s that word again. Net. Was I looking at only one side of the boat? The financial net? I needed to remember that story because we netted far more than money. The money is certainly more than we would have contributed otherwise, but we brought in some bigger fish, too! Relationships. Contribution. Sacrifice. Commitment. Teamwork. Outreach.

Christmas is a time when we focus on results. We want our gifts to make an impact. We want others to appreciate our efforts. We want to know that 2017 made a difference. If your net feels a little empty, maybe you needed to hear a Halloween story. It’s time to fish where Jesus wants you to fish.