Breakfast on the Beach with Jesus (part one): doing what we do

“Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. ‘I’m going out to fish,’ Simon Peter told them, and they said, ‘We’ll go with you.’ (John 21:1-3).

I’ve been pondering this passage for a long season. It grips me in so many ways from so many different angles. John 21 is chock full of meaty information, rich fodder for pulpits willing to preach it and bookstores willing to stock it. I imagine you have been privy to as much as I have along these lines. Collectively, we’ve probably “heard” it all over the years. Hearing has never been our problem. Our problem is absorption, a problem James clearly identifies as a “looking at our faces in the mirror, then quickly forgetting what we look like” kind of problem (James 1:23-25).

We hear the Word, but do we do the Word? Do we allow it absorption into our hearts so that our nourishment therein exacts a result in the process?

Guilty as charged; thus, my wanting to do the Word better… to live it better. Not for “doing’s” sake, but rather for kingdom’s sake—for moving onward and upward toward holiness and my perfection. Along those lines, I’m going to be fleshing out some thoughtful considerations via my pen. Writing those considerations often solidifies them in my heart. To ponder without putting any action behind that pondering is a waste of time for me, for I am woefully prone to my forgetting. But to frame that pondering with some words… well, chances are I’ll remember it, at least have it at my fingertips for recall down the road.

I keep a file folder on my desk that is filled with previous thoughts I’ve scribbled down on particular Biblical topics—skeletal thoughts that need some corresponding “flesh” at some point down the road. After perusing my folder’s contents yesterday, I came across three stapled sheets worth of thoughts that I had written back in the fall and now duly labeled with a sticky note that simply said “breakfast.”

And so I begin with that one word and what it means within the context of this passage and, correspondingly, what it means within the context of my soul. I do not live in isolation from this story. I wasn’t there as it occurred in living color; neither were you. But we live it today, even as the disciples lived it 2000 years ago. That’s the powerful witness of God’s sustaining Word. It never grows tired or empty or void of purpose. It is an accomplishing, active Word intended for our transformation in 2010.

And so I begin… with breakfast.

With breaking my “fast” from Jesus. Truly, if we only gleaned one “teaching” from John 21, this one is enough to bring hope to a heart that is longing for intimate fellowship with the Divine. John 21 has less to do with the route we take to “get to Jesus” and more to do with the route he takes to “get to us.” No one comes to the Father except through him (John 14:6). We think differently most days… we think it’s all about us and the steps we take to get to Jesus, and, indeed, there is great wealth that comes to us because of our posturing our hearts toward that end. But all of our posturing and managing of our schedules to get to Jesus means very little if he isn’t already there as we arrive. Jesus understands, better than us, our need to break our fast from him. Accordingly and faithfully, he sets a table over some hot coals, preparing for our presence, even though our presence remains off shore and, most days, unaware of our great need for his sustenance.

“It happened this way…” (oh, I can barely get past those four words, for they speak a message all their own—something about the authenticity of God’s Word and his wanting us to know the exact details of how this moment in Scripture actually “went down”)…

Simon and a few others had gathered in their grief, in their moments beyond the witness of the empty grave, yet unable to move forward with much of anything simply because that “much” wasn’t as clearly defined as they needed it to be.

Ever been there? Ever stood on the other side of Christ’s resurrecting truth, yet felt completely overwhelmed by the revelation and your responsibility therein? In our need for quick understanding, we reason that Peter and the others should have known what to do with the resurrecting truth of their Lord… should have immediately taken its witness and began in the unpacking of its merits to those walking around with deficient understanding. But Christ’s work in them—his directional “next” for them—had yet to be clearly defined. Emotional chaos was their compass, and is so often the case when emotions chart our course, we default to doing the one thing we’re most comfortable doing.

For Peter it was fishing; for us, a great many other “doings.” It’s natural, even reasonable for us to land in a place of “comfortable” while sorting out our emotions and our determinations regarding what to do with the weighty revelation of Calvary. Christ understands our chaos, even as he understood the disciples’ chaos so long ago. He stands ringside and watches it unfold, even as he stokes the fires of a breakfast that will yield the answers… the peace… the directional good our hearts are hungering for.

Long before we ever hold those answers as our own, our Savior tenderly cradles them as his own. Thoughtfully, he places them over burning embers, tending to them and cooking them to completion, so that when our feet find their way to the beach, there is food enough to fill the gnawing ache that has consumed us in the night.

As we default to doing what we naturally do in times of confusion, Jesus Christ defaults to doing what he always does, despite our confusion. He prepares a table of rich intimacy for us that will not only feed us, but that will gradually transform us for his high and holy purposes.

God sees us in our “doing” this day, friends. We may not be aware of his watchful glances from the shore, but he finds us, no matter our doings, no matter the chaos going on around us. And for some incredible reason beyond my understanding, he loves me still, despite my lack of awareness regarding the breakfast that he’s cooking on my behalf and the table he’s preparing in anticipation of my arrival to shore.

Christ’s preparations for intimate fellowship and sacred discipleship exceed ours. In fact, his preparations precede ours. We may come to the table thinking that our obedience is what yields the filling of our stomachs; but the truth is, our Savior has been up all night preparing for the feast, waiting for the moment when we will break our fast and dine in his presence.

Today, as we go about “doing what we do” and Christ goes about “doing what he does”, let us be mindful of the sacred intersection between the two. If you haven’t stepped on shore today to break your fast from Jesus, know that his fire burns in eager anticipation for your arrival and with ample food to satisfy your hungering need.

I know. He’s fed me well this morning.

As always…

peace for the journey,

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Copyright © January 2010 – Elaine Olsen

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19 Responses to Breakfast on the Beach with Jesus (part one): doing what we do

  1. Goodness! A lot of food for thought, and a bit convicting. It totally goes along with what I read in "Jesus Calling" last night. It said, "Seek My face and you will find more than you ever dreamed possible…I am the goal of all your searching. When you seek Me, you find Me, and are satisfied". I'm making it my goal to 'break my fast' daily and seek Him.

  2. Thank You LORD for serving me today and everyday. Thank You for using Elaine to teach us Your lessons to keep us in the right track. In Jesus' name, amen.

  3. Elaine,

    Such a great word from the LORD. He fed me through what you wrote. Each time I meet with Him I will be reminded of your words…straight from HIS heart.


  4. Oh My!!! What thoughts to ponder. I always treasure your words for they touch the heart and make one take the time to truly digest and go to Jesus. Thank you my friend. As always, I will be thinking on this for a bit.


  5. This says it all for me Elaine, "Guilty as charged; thus, my wanting to do the Word better… to live it better. Not for “doing’s” sake, but rather for kingdom’s sake—for moving onward and upward toward holiness and my perfection."

    Powerful message! May GOD be glorified in and through all of us as we feed at His bountiful table where we find HIM!!!

    Love you.

  6. Oh man, what a hearty series this is going to be! I'm so thankful He lives and moves and has His being in and through me. Thank you for keepin me goin in the right direction, Elaine! You spur me on!

  7. "Our problem is absorption, a problem James clearly identifies as a “looking at our faces in the mirror, then quickly forgetting what we look like” kind of problem (James 1:23-25)."

    Girl, you hit the nail on the head! Amen!! I so need to absorb the Word and not just hear it. I am working on that with Wendy P.'s reading through the Bible. It's a new, fresh way to hear the scriptures and "get it!" Loving this.

    I need Shirl's email…my mcafee blocker won't let me pull up her email. I need help! Photoshop is not my friend…even though I spent beaucoups of $$ on it! But…I will stick with it!!Promise! By the time we get together again, I'll be an expert!! haha!!

    Love you!

  8. "He loves me still…" so resonates with my heart, Elaine, as well as your thought about how Jesus is already there when we arrive. Love your thoughts today — thank you!

  9. Elaine, your way with words always stimulates my thinking. I have a new way of thinking about breakfast!


  10. Thank you, Elaine. I am looking forward to this series. You always guide me in the right direction – toward the Father.

  11. It is a great place of feasting when we come to the Word. You are right – hearing it – has never been our problem.

    But when we come to the Word of God it should be with an anticipation of RESPONDING to it!
    THAT is what God desires from each heart who reads, ponders and meditates upon it.

    Then———as you said in many words —–we must ask ourselves what are we going to do with the TRUTH He has revealed through it? A response to God's Word requires action – whether in PRAYER or in DEED! Something……..

    May we be found responding daily and living out that response whole-heartedly in His Will and His ways!

    Great ENCOURAGING POST – as always!
    Choosing JOY, Stephanie
    JESUS ONLY in 2010

  12. This is the first time I'm reading your blog and I'm so thankful I found you. I LOVE the way you write and how you just put in words how much Jesus loves us and is waiting for us. Our Bible Study is going over the basics right now and God's Word was just this week…how to study it, take it in and apply it. I love how you brought that out here. I hope you don't mind if I share this with my group. Anyway, I was never 'taught' how to study the Bible and here I am, 40 years later still learning. AWESOME!!! Thanks for your words and I'm adding you to my reading list. God bless.

  13. Oh, I meant to add that the way I found you was through my email when you responded to another blog. Your title 'peace for the journey' caught my eye. God bless.

  14. Elaine,
    So blessed to have found your site today. Isn't God so creative in bringing other people into our lives to stretch us and encourage us and be a living part of His "directional Next". I love your heart writings. You are an anointed pencil in the hand of God. It was as if I was on that beach with Him and partaking of His precisely prepared meal with Him – FOR ME! Thank you for bringing the shore to my front door today. I was hungry for the nourishment that only He can give. And – He chose to give it through you, today. In feeding you this morning – you have become full and running over, with His wisdom and His grace. Your overflow pours out over me like rain nourishes the parched ground. That's the power of Jesus's love – He's into mutiplicity – to enlarge our faith, our territory and our effectiveness – for His Kingdom, and His Glory.
    As we reach for His plate of substance today – may we be blessed by having spent time with the Living Lord – that we too might be an overflow of blessing to all who need His "directional Next". May we be powerfully used by God in our break "fast" from Jesus.

    Blessings, Elaine, for being a blessing
    Patrina <")}}><{

  15. Hey Mrs. Elaine:) This post is thought-provoking, I was thinking about that verse that says i think in 1 John that we love Him because He first loved us. Then, there is Deut. 6:5 that says that we should love Him with all our mind, soul, strength, really our entire being. That He draws us to salvation, and then sanctification, yet we are to seek after Him is a concept that blows my mind! I'm thinking I will understand it better once I'm in heaven one day…

    Blessings to you Mrs. Elaine, I'm gonna try and make sure you get a text or call from someone whenever baby girl is coming!:)


  16. I can tell this series is for me…at this time…after my hiatus…

    This phrase stands out…

    "when emotions chart our course, we default to doing the one thing we’re most comfortable doing."

    I am bookmarking this post….

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