Wednesday, May 26, 2021
It has been said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Yesterday I was called old. Therefore, I no longer need to learn new things.
Now that’s terrible logic. However, we do get stuck in our traditions and comfort zones of doing things the same way we’ve always done them. Jesus recognizes that in all of us, and He patiently and graciously repeats lessons until we learn them.
In the twenty-first chapter of John, Jesus stands on the shore while the disciples are finishing up a night of fishing about one hundred yards away. He calls out to them to see what they have caught. They answered with a simple “Nothing.” But that is about to change.
Luke describes a similar event to this at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus was in a boat with Peter and asked him to go fishing. Peter said it would be futile to try to catch anything during the day, but he did as Jesus asked, and they caught an abundance of fish. Then Jesus taught them a lesson. He said, “From now on you will catch men.”
Yet here we are three years later, and Peter is back trying to catch fish. So Jesus repeats the lesson. Peter catches an abundance of fish, and when he does he is instantly overwhelmed with the grace and forgiveness of Jesus, and swims to shore to meet the Lord. So far as we know Peter never fished for fish again, but solely fished for men.
We may be tempted to ask, “Why did it take Peter so long to understand what Jesus was teaching Him?” But as soon as that question crosses our mind it is accompanied with the conviction of how many lessons we have still not learned. How many direct interventions of the power of God into our lives is it going to take for us to learn to completely trust Him and serve Him?
That’s a powerful question, and one we need to seriously contemplate. We must not move quickly back into our comfort zones. We dare not limit our learning of new things. We must not make excuses for why life is good enough the way it is. We must not arrogantly claim that we are good enough the way we are.
Jesus is patiently offering us daily opportunities to be filled with His life and join Him on His mission. Have you decided that you are not too old to be taught?