John 21:4-5 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
This brings me back to the message that was given at the Easter Sunrise Service. That message was that even after His resurrection Jesus used completely ordinary greetings in speaking to people, pointing out that we are to encounter Christ in our daily lives, and not just limit Him to Sundays. Here too Jesus is meeting with the disciples at the lake, and not in some “holy place.” It’s interesting that the Japanese, probably sticking closer to the Greek, has Jesus saying, “Children, you don’t have anything to eat, do you.” From what followed the implication was obviously, “fish worth eating,” so the NIV isn’t out of place in its translation, but it’s still interesting. The hour was early enough that the lighting wasn’t sufficient for the disciples to see just who was talking to them. Often we don’t recognize when the Lord speaks to us, even when we hear what He is saying. If He is speaking through someone, often we take it lightly, as just that person’s opinion. If He is speaking to our minds, we are likely to take it as our own imagination. That’s why we need as much familiarity as possible with the Bible, because it is indeed “a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105) As David said, “In your light we see light.” (Psalm 36:9) The more familiar we are with the Bible, the more likely we are to recognize when God is speaking to us and hear accurately what He is saying. That’s not at all limited to Sundays, or even to specific devotional times, because God meets with us in the ordinary, mundane events of our lives, caring about what we’re eating and whether our activities are successful.
I don’t think I’ve had much of a tendency to limit God to church, but that doesn’t mean I’ve always been listening to Him. I think that as long as I’m in this body that I’ll have room to grow in that area! However, as a pastor one of my biggest desires is that the believers grow in expecting God to speak to them and learning how to recognize what He is saying to them. I seek to speak out what He is saying from the pulpit, but I don’t want them just to be spoon fed; I want them to learn how to feed themselves steak. Each one is at a different place in that process, which makes it imperative that I not try to rely on my own wisdom to do the job. I can’t do it! I need to listen to the Lord myself throughout each day, so that my words and actions may indeed point others to Christ to hear Him for themselves.
Father, thank You for the example of my father, who was notorious for asking people who came to him for advice, “What is God saying to you?” Use me to cause the believers to expect to hear from You and to be quick to obey what they hear You saying, so that all of Your purposes for us may be fulfilled, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!