When I pastored my first church, I was very young. Mid-twenties. Full of ideas. Most of my ideas were shot down by the much older congregation. The most memorable was when we were discussing ways to make ourselves visible to our community and I suggested we have "dinner on the grounds" after church one Sunday. An old, moss-backed deacon stood up and said, "Preacher, we tried that back in '65 and it rained."
The stunned look on my face froze in complete disbelief for a solid two minutes. What was the old guy saying? He was saying, "We're tired of trying and failing."
Same road. Same results. That's how we think. It's logical enough...usually. You don't talk to certain people because you have tried and tried and they continue to snub you. You don't expend tired energy on something when you've already tried and failed.
Peter understood. He had fished and fished all night long and caught nothing. I feel his pain. Someone defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." The guy who said that may have been in the boat with me at the time.
There is a lot of truth in that. But it isn't a hard and fast rule. It's a general observation. What if you do the same thing over again, but this time you do so with a different attitude, a renewed motivation, or utilizing the strength and energy of someone else's enthusiasm?
We tried it again in '85 and it didn't rain. It was an enjoyable and successful experience. As people drove by, we waved them in as an invitation to eat with us. And they did!
Peter fished all night and caught nothing. He was tired. His enthusiasm for fishing gone. His hope of catching depleted. But he had Jesus in his boat this time. And it was Jesus who asked for a guided fishing trip.
"Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let the down the net" (Luke 5:5).
The legend of tall fishermen tales was born. They caught so many fish, their nets were breaking. They had to bring in a reinforcement boat. They filled both boats so full of fish that they were starting to sink.
Same lake, same boat, same nets, same fishermen. Much different results. Why? This time, they had Jesus in the boat.
Jesus once said something we need to remind ourselves of at least once a week: "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26).
Let's try this again...with Jesus on board.