After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” – John 21:1-5
A church consultant offered two questions which challenged us to think about our goals and priorities for our church’s mission and ministry.
- What business are you in?
- How’s business?
The church’s assigned business is disciple-making. That’s the Great Commission: “Go make disciples of all nations.” It’s not always boiled down to that point for many churches and ministries. We’re not always clear even as to what that means. This makes answering the second question even more difficult. How do you know how business is if you can’t describe what it actually is?
Jesus’ disciples had forsaken the business to which he had called them. Business was bad. Their leader had died, and even after his resurrection they were simply waiting around for Act 3. Act 1: Jesus was born, lived, taught, and promised. Act 2: Jesus had suffered and died, then risen from the dead. Act 3: So what is next? How does it play out that “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you”?
What do you do if you’re a fisher of men, and your leader hasn’t given you any man-fishing directions? You go back to fishing. Only trouble is: You don’t even succeed at your old way of life. So when Jesus shows up, he calls out asking, “Children[!], do you have any fish?” How embarrassing. Not only did they fail at man-catching. They couldn’t even succeed in catching real fish. Jesus knows it and calls them out.
So, how’s business with you? Are you living into your calling as a follower of Jesus? Do you know what it is? On the one hand it is to be a disciple-maker, seeking the rule and reign of Jesus. That grows out of Jesus’ two Great Commandments: “Love God, and love your neighbor.” We love God because he first loved us. We love our neighbor in order to reflect God’s love to us, and through us to others. We’ll never do that perfectly. But that doesn’t excuse us from trying – sticking to the business of seeking the rule and reign of Jesus in your life and in the lives of others.