New day. New week. New beginning to an old life. Who amongst us couldn’t use some new right now?
Today, I offer you part five in my series “Breakfast on the Beach with Jesus.” For some of you, a series of this sort isn’t your cup of tea; I’ve sensed that, and I’m fine with your preference. I love writing with a “series” feel… it helps me better develop my thoughts on an entire section of scripture and, in this case, helps me prepare my heart for an upcoming speaking engagement. Thank you to those of you who are willing to walk alongside me in my ponderings. If you’ve missed the previous four parts of this series and wish to catch up, you can read them here. Shalom.
“Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples dared ask him, ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.” (John 21:12-13)
The closer we move to Christ’s fire on the beach, the deeper the exchange between our hearts and his. We can linger on the waters of certain truth, throw a few nets per his directives, and even recognize and acknowledge him from afar without ever really having to go deeper with Jesus. Offshore is sometimes the safest place for us if we fear the change that might come to us by eating what Christ is serving up for breakfast. Rather than drawing closer to the fire to receive from his hands, we choose the warmth of the fire’s perimeter.
Why? Why in the world might we distance ourselves from Jesus when it’s clearly obvious that the Lover of our souls lingers in anticipation for us on the beach? I think for a few reasons.
First, the deepest intimacy we will ever share with our Savior comes to us when our hands touch his. We cannot partake of his breakfast without receiving it from his hands, and we cannot receive from his hands without our hands touching his corresponding scars. For many of us, that is too real… too vulnerable… too much of an inward look at personal sin and shame. As Peter must have felt in those early morning hours after denying Christ three times, we also feel the weightiness of our guilt when our flesh reaches out for a plate from his hands. We cannot abide the look in his eyes, because in his reflection we fear seeing the unworthiness of our “all” staring back at us.
A second reason many Christians stand at a distance from Jesus’ invitation to breakfast is that they aren’t comfortable with the morning menu. Sometimes what Jesus is serving isn’t in keeping with good digestion. Certainly, all food from the Father’s plate is for our good gain, but with that goodness sometimes comes a heaping dose of holy confrontation—questions our Jesus isn’t afraid to ask us to chew upon and then to swallow and questions that are in keeping with his regime for our continuing good health. If we were being honest (and really what profit is there in pretending other than to side-track the issue and stunt our growth altogether), there are days when we’d rather go hungry than to have to digest a hard teaching from our Father. Our good enough becomes breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare rather than his plate of our moving onto perfection.
A third reason (and perhaps the poorest excuse of them all) for us not coming to shore per Jesus’ invitation is that breakfast with Jesus means giving our nets a rest… means taking a break from our daily demands and schedules and, instead, choosing to spend one of life’s most precious commodities—time—at the feet of the Father. We are a busy people crammed and overflowing with the tyranny of the urgent. Where one need ends, another stands in line to take its place. Rarely is there time in our days for a leisurely stroll on the beach with Jesus. We reason his understanding in the matter; we think he “gets it,” and because of his grace, will wait for us. We tell him “Soon, Lord, just a few more minutes” when in reality we’re simply saying “This is more important to me than You.”
Can you even imagine saying that to Jesus? That your “this” is more important than what Christ is serving for breakfast? Many of us wouldn’t dare say it, but friends, we live it every day. Every time when we choose…
busy over best.
schedules over the sacred.
distance over deeper.
chaos over Christ.
And with our “No, thanks…” and “Not now…” we grieve our Savior’s heart, for we forget that he has been up all night, stoking the fires of a good feeding, waiting in anticipation for our arrival come morning light. When we choose to stay off shore—whether because of our fear of intimacy, a breakfast menu not to our liking, or because of our busy schedules—we miss out on the most intimate fellowship we will ever experience with the Divine on this side of eternity. Instead of feasting on the fare of his hands, we waste it. We leave it, and before day’s end, it has grown cold, has lost its flavor, and has become the wasted remnants of a grace that was meant to be tasted and lived and enjoyed on the front end of a day.
Thankfully, our Savior waits for us… at least a while longer. Even when we forsake a morning rendezvous on the beach with Jesus, he consigns himself to another night’s watch on our behalves, another night’s fire, another night’s roasting of fish, until another night has passed, and morning light brings new anticipation to his heart for our acceptance of his invitation to “Come and have breakfast.” His patience is great and his love far reaching. He, greater than us, understands our need for intimate times around a fire and for nourishment from his hands. That is why he is faithful to a shore’s lingering.
Can you see him there, stoking the fire and casting a far glance in your direction? He lingers still. He lingers for you. Come and have breakfast with your Jesus today. There is no excuse you can offer that is worth missing out on the offer of his heart and hands. It may smell like fish, but it feeds like grace.
Even so, Lord, fill my plate and fill it up again. As always, friends…
peace for the journey,
Copyright © March 2010 – Elaine Olsen