One of my favorite ministries falling under the umbrella of the Care Connect Ministries program I direct at Lake City Church is ‘Meals of Love.’ A team of volunteers—mostly women, but a couple of men as well—headed up by Jeannie, an efficient and passionate coordinator, prepare meals for individuals or families who need a helping hand during times of need.
I often show love by preparing meals. One of my daughter roles to my elderly, widowed mom is preparing and keeping her freezer stocked with single-serve meals. I never get tired of or feel burdened by the task. There’s something very gratifying to me about this practical act of service.
Perhaps, that’s why one of my very favorite Jesus stories is one found in Chapter 21 of the Gospel of John. This is an amazing chapter containing many layers of truth. It commences with Jesus cooking breakfast for his friends, but it’s about a whole lot more than cooking up a mess of fish for friends.
Jesus’ disciples—discouraged, disappointed, deflated—following their rabbi’s cruel death on the cross had returned to what they understood—fishing. Even though they knew Jesus had risen from the grave and had conquered death, the full impact of what happened and how they now fit into this crazy puzzle was quite confusing.
The scene never ceases to fill me with wonder.
Bewildered fishermen had not only returned to what they thought they understood, it seemed they failed at even that when they weren’t able to catch a single fish.
How often I’ve been in a similar situation. I thought I’d done what I was supposed to do. I felt certain I’d been faithful to the task God had called me. I was sure I’d climbed the final mountain and life was about to be ‘easier,’ only to find another mountain loomed menacingly. At that moment, the task feels too much to handle.
But, such times have never been the end of my story. And, empty fishing nets weren’t the end of the disciples’ stories either, because…
On the shore, is the resurrected Christ who would soon ascend into Heaven. The assignment of his incarnation—God becoming man and dwelling for a season with humankind—was almost over.
A couple months ago, I had the privilege of walking on this very beach. The journal we were provided by our tour guides says this of Tabgha, “Simply…this beach is different! This beach is a must see, but it is not enough just to see this beach; one must experience this beach!”
Tabgah – a holy place – a beach one much experience.
The account that unfolds on Tabgha reveals this story is about much more than an episode of a Gospel version of a cooking show. The significance of Tabgha is much more profound than the Risen Lord preparing a ‘meal of love’ to encourage his disillusioned friends. Jesus is about to use a ‘meal of love’ as the prelude to delivering a profound pivotal spiritual lesson to the most discouraged of his disciples, Peter.
I hope you’ll join me next time when I unpack further some of my insights into this story. In the meantime, perhaps you’ll want to consider preparing a ‘meal of love’ for someone. You may never know the eternal implications of such a simple act.
I’m praying you’ll be surprised by a God-blessing today…
- Note: For more information about your own trip to Israel, we recommend highly Dan and Sharon Stolbarger, our group leaders. If this is a trip you’d love to make, check them out at http://holygroundexplorations.com/ ↑