When we feel tired and empty, Jesus gives us new vision.
Luke’s marvelous story of the miraculous catch of fish on the Galilean lake begins with frustrated fisherman who have nothing to show for a whole night’s work.
Empty boats and empty nets can lead to empty bank accounts.
They were skilled fisherman who had trolled the water of the Sea of Galilee their whole lives. Who knows why they caught no fish despite trying all night? They used the same nets they always used. They applied the same savvy they always did. But they were left tired and empty.
The global pandemic has brought a lot of emptiness—empty restaurants, retail stores and non-essential businesses.
Some nimble businesses have redirected their energies. Boathouse Sports, a Philadelphia-based sports apparel company has switched gears and started making protective equipment for hospitals.
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the company was starting to sink. Sales had shrunk 36% in just two years. So Jobs started pruning. They got rid of 705 of their products (like the Apple Quicktake digital camera, the Newton PDA, and laser printers). The emptiness left room for innovation and, before long, they invented the iPhone that has changed the world.
The global pandemic has not spared the church—we have empty pews. In the early days of sheltering in place, I had a hard time seeing past the empty church buildings. It felt like Peter’s empty boat—designed for fishing but sitting idle and unused.
However, like most churches, we pivoted quickly and began focusing on the power and quality of our online worship experiences. From the outset, we began reaching far more people in our virtual worship gatherings than we ever had in our physical gatherings. We have several thousand people who call our church home, but last week’s worship service was viewed nearly 100,000 times. Who knows what good God may bring from this global crisis? As restrictions ease, people are beginning to gather in small groups to watch the service and worship together on Sunday mornings.
I can envision a global spiritual awakening as people gather from home to home as they did when the church of Jesus Christ was first born.
If you have an empty boat or empty dream, maybe Jesus is going to repurpose it for His glory and the good of the world. He works miracles out of empty things. And that’s the Gospel!