As we bump along in life, we often misunderstand things, especially concerning our recovery. I recently caught a cartoon which captures that reality.
In it, we see Jesus and His disciples on a fishing boat. One disciple is in a festive mood, complete with some castanet shaking. This prompts another disciple’s response...
“You idiot. He said cast the nets.”
Does this spotlight, once again, our human cluelessness?
Perhaps, rather, it taps into the purposeful recovery-from-addiction meaning in our lives, should we choose to embrace it.
Let’s take a gander at the fishy verses...
“And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." Simon answered and said, ‘Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.’”
Now, it’s good to be focused; it’s good to be recovery-minded. But sometimes we can get downright myopic about it. The emphasis is on survival, on not dying in some way. It’s all about self.
So, if our selfy selfish selves are running amok, it’s all the more challenging to look to past these self-interests, to consider anyone else’s issues.
And this pesky human nature often drives our whine to God’s request as we navigate our process...
“...‘Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing...’”
I mean, come on, be honest, how many of us utter that last bit of Luke 5:5, one which goes beyond the whine?
“...‘but I will do as You say and let down the nets.’”
Yeah, I thought so. I’m guilty of it too.
But it doesn’t change the greater work, one residing beyond self to others. It’s wrapped up in some questions, should we choose to answer them.
What if God is wanting us to see beyond our personal recovery to help someone else?
What if, on this spiritual fishing boat, Jesus is directing us to pursue the deep haul of reconciliation?
Before we nay say, right off the bat, let’s first look at the result of following His instructions...
“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.”
This boat trip is often mentioned within the context of salvation. And yes, that is there. Yeah, we’re fishing for souls.
But what if these scriptures also challenge us to go still further, beyond “saving someone?”
What if we are challenged to continue the ongoing, “other-minded” work of helping someone else, via our own stories of life, struggle and victory?
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
After all, isn’t that what support groups and sponsors are all about?
The word “reconciliation” is defined as:
“the restoration of friendly relations; reunion; reuniting; bringing together (again)”
And we see God is heavily into this principle.
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
2 Corinthians 5:18-9
So, you would think we’d be equally enthusiastic about it as well.
Instead, like the castanets, we often only seem to be noisy- and miss the point entirely.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Why so noisy?
It has to do with our disconnection to a critical element in this reconciliation equation: love.
“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Yes, hippy dippy, warm fuzzy love.
But, in the recovery process, we often get caught up in the doing of things: attending meetings, gathering chips, staying on track. But do we love?
Actual applied, relevant, inconvenient, soul-stretching love which...
...honestly shares our ugly war stories with another, with no thought of how embarrassing it makes us look...
...mentors someone who’s in dire straits, perhaps, even someone who we would not consider as a friend...
...forgives our personal Judas, someone who has lied to, hurt and cheated us...
Is any of our recovery process covering that territory?
This is not to condemn anyone.
Rather, it’s the constant, encouraging challenge to go deeper in God and into our recovery, so much so, we discover the profound meaning to our brokenness: spiritual mending, a/k/a, reconciliation.
We have the invitation to be “about our Father’s business” (Luke 2:49).
When we hear this invitation, how, in fact, do we respond?
The castanets of noise? Or the “cast the nets” of God’s love?
Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse