Jesus And Recreation


Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

~John 21:3, NRSV


Recreation is refreshment of strength and spirits after work by means of refreshment or diversion.

~Merriam Webster

There is a debate among preachers concerning Peter’s motive for going fishing. Some think he was backsliding and making an attempt to go back to his old life. I disagree. I think Peter was tired physically, drained emotionally, and disturbed mentally. The crucifixion of Jesus had been traumatic and Peter guilty conscience didn’t help. He was reliving his night of shame over and over. He was the oldest of the disciples, the only one old enough to pay taxes. The others were most likely in their teens. Peter saw himself as the leader of the group but not only did he deny Christ, he failed to be the courageous leader that he perceived himself to be. The entire ordeal had been humiliating and discouraging. Peter was down, he was lower than a snakes belly in a wagon rut. Peter needed some recreation. He needed a retreat, a get-a-way, a healthy diversion. When Jesus showed up He didn’t chew Peter out for fishing. He did give Peter a stern yet compassionate talk but the subject was not recreation. Jesus question to Peter was not, “What are you doing fishing?” His question was “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” Peter had put himself on a pedestal when he said, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.” [Matt. 26:33] Peter was not shocked when the others deserted Jesus but his denial was devastating had shattered his confidence.

There are some lessons to be learned from Peter’s experience:

  1. We all make humiliating mistakes, especially when we become over confident.
  2. Disappointing failure, emotional trauma and physical fatigue lead to discouragement.
  3. If we take following Jesus seriously, the devil will take us seriously which means he will sift us like wheat just as he did Peter. [Luke 22:31]
  4. Even a great army knows when to retreat. Vance Havner said, “If we don’t come a part, we will fall a part.” Recreation is God’s idea. The devil did not create pleasure nor recreation. He perverts them but he did not create them.
  5. Leaders have to be careful because there are others who will follow us. When Peter decided to go fishing, six others joined him.
  6. Jesus encourages the discouraged. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. [Isaiah 41:10]
  7. Recreation without Jesus leaves us empty. They had caught nothing until Jesus showed up. Because of him, they had a wonderful breakfast and all were filled. It is wrong to go to the lake when you are trying to get away from your call and commitment to Jesus.

Two additional notes: I could be wrong and the other preacher be right but I doubt it. If going to the lake was a sin, I think Jesus would have mentioned it. BUT recreation is for those who work. Peter had been on a three year mission trip, I think he deserved a night at the lake. Look at Websters definition one more time. Some are like the old guy who said, “I do nothing six days a week and then rest on Sunday.” People who don’t work, don’t need a Sabbath {rest}.

I can’t believe it: last day of VBS 2017 and as far as I know, it has been a great one.

Vickie’s surgery went OK we thought but there was some bleeding afterwards. They gave her a blood transfusion last night. Janet stayed there with her. We talked to Janet around 8:30 and she was stable. We think she may have too much blood thinner. Old Gregg is doing pretty good. He got a good report from his doctor and that never hurts.

The rain {Praise God for it} has caused the grass to grow which means I am behind. I cut one yard late yesterday and have six more to go. At least it is not dry and dusty.

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