Passion defines behavior. Man generally finds time and effort for things he considers important. In a world of competing interests, we have a tendency to categorize things based on importance and then preferentially devote our energies toward things we are passionate about. If you are passionate about football, you will find time to watch your games and your favorite teams. Shortly after his resurrection, Jesus’ encounter with the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias was one of redirecting passion.

 4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. 6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. ——–—-15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” (John 21)

This was like deja vu for Peter and his friends- fishing all night with no success and then an encounter with Jesus. Like he had commanded them a few years ago, he asks them to cast their nets on one side of the boat and the result is no different- the nets are so full with fish that they are unable to haul the nets on board.

Here was a despondent group of disciples who had hoped much out of Christ. Jesus heralded so much promise, yet at that point of time, they apparently had nothing. Because even though he had performed amazing things amidst them, he was now dead. The reality of the resurrection hadn’t fully dawned on them. Was a resurrected Christ as good as the one they had seen? By that one act, Jesus demonstrated that he had not lost his touch. He still commanded the forces of this physical world like he did when he was alive. He was God in all fullness of deity and was with them to grant them success in their efforts.

Man searches far and wide for success, but success truly lies buried within the wisdom of God! Be it catching a boatload of fish when there are no fish around or being productive in your work or having a stable family or having all you need and more for your life, success in its various forms comes to those who truly follow the Lord. Individuals, families, communities and nations that genuinely follow Christ find success and abundance. This is not the same as the ‘prosperity gospel’ where the sole objective of following Christ is to make money. This is not the same as exalting the dollar above God as is rampant in many churches. This is different from having an overriding love for money that brings a person to ruin.

On the contrary, Jesus after providing for them a boatload of fish, attempts to redirect their passions away from material abundance to devotion and service unto him. To Simon Peter, who would head the church, he throws a challenge to no longer focus on the material (as understood by ‘these’ in v15), but to give himself to loving and serving Christ. How easy it would have been for Peter to go back to fishing and just carry the pleasant memories he had of Christ’s time with them! Yet he was required by the Lord to redirect his passion and lay all on the line as he would go through much hardship in directing the church and eventually pay for it with the ultimate sacrifice of his very life. But Peter was no loser; he knew that in redirecting his passions, he was gaining eternal reward.

The secret to life is to redirect our passions.

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