Fishing after Easter by Pastor Chad Holtz
Easter has come and gone and if you are like me you are still finding rogue eggs and chocolates between couch cushions and beneath gutter spouts. Being a pastor over holy week is a fulfilling yet tiring exercise, but if I’m honest, I find myself asking on Monday if any good has come of it.
The highs of Easter are all-too easily displaced by the lows of mundane Monday and beyond. What are we to do? After all, we are Easter people, right? We have faithfully borne witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, singing robustly the chorus, “Up from the grave he arose!” and have been reminded that because He lives, we can face tomorrow. We left church excited, ready to set the world on fire, and hungry for Mamaw’s honey-baked ham. But what about now?
While mountaintop, resurrection-moments are great to have, and graciously given to us by our Father in heaven from time to time, they are not to be expected as the norm. When Peter was on the mountaintop with Jesus and witnessed the transfiguration, along with the appearance of Moses and Elijah, he was feeling high as a kite, I’m sure. So much so that he suggested to Jesus that they build tents and stay awhile. “It is good that we are here,” Peter said, “Let’s camp!” (Matt. 17:4, that last bit is my own translation).
But alas, no sooner did the high come that they were on their way back down the mountain. Back down to Monday and life as usual.
I think Peter learned something valuable through this experience. Later, after he had witnessed Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, we find him gathered with some other disciples in John 21. This time Peter isn’t interested in building a tent and staying around the buzz but in getting to work. “I am going fishing,” he says (John 21:3), and others decide to join him. And lest we think a mountain-top experience like resurrection assures success in every other area of life, John is quick to point out that though they fished all night they caught nothing. Bummer of a Monday, huh?
I think I, and all of us, would do well to imitate Peter here. Peter was appreciative of the high Easter moments a life with God often (but not always) brings, but was equally aware of the purpose behind these moments: propel him to roll up his sleeves and get to work. If Jesus taught us anything it’s that the Christian life is one of service, not being served; of dying to self rather than living for self. Instead of pitching tents in a huddle in order to keep that Easter-feeling we should be casting our nets in the waters in order to catch some fish.
This Easter season I want to encourage you to get to work. Roll up your sleeves and push out into deep, unknown waters and get to fishing. We weren’t meant to pitch tents on mountains or mill around the empty tomb. Easter-highs are for the purpose of giving us something to share with the world on Monday and beyond. If we truly believe Christ is Risen, then we have nothing to fear about trying new things, starting new ministries, reaching new people. If we live like that, there is nothing mundane at all about Monday, or any other day. Let’s go fishing, ya’ll.