Search This Blog

Follow by Email

Sunday, April 10, 2016

You're Doing It Wrong

"Mr. Mom" was released in 1983.  I was three years old, so please don't hold me responsible for whatever terrible stereotypes it probably displayed prominently, but as I sat here more than three decades later, a line from the film came back to me.  Weird, right?  There is a scene where the dad is dropping his children off in the school carpool for the first time, and he has entered the parking lot in the wrong direction.  All of the impatient parents (I guess, for the purpose of this movie, they are all moms) are honking and screaming.  The dad's elementary school aged child tries to explain the problem to him by simply exclaiming, "You're doing it wrong!"  Finally, the lady who must be in charge of the carpool steps up to the car and echoes these words.  She gives some directions for how to do it right the next time, and the scene ends with more honking and yelling.  After spending 1 minute and 8 seconds of my life to relive this moment in film history, I was left feeling a little bit as if this poor man felt like this was the message for his entire life!

None of us likes to be told that we're wrong.  This can be difficult even when we are trying something new, but it is nearly impossible to deal with when we are doing something we know how to do, something we're good at doing!  This passage from John always baffles me just a little bit:       

John 21:1-6, "Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee.  It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as 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.' So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.  Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.  He called out to them, 'Friends, haven’t you any fish?'  'No,' they answered.  He said, 'Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.' When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish" (NIV).

You see, these disciples knew what they were doing!  This is not like the first (and only) time I ever went fishing and refused to use a hook, because I didn't want to hurt the fish.  No kidding, but perhaps this is a story for another time.  These guys were professional fishermen before they were disciples!  And some guy who they don't even recognize as Jesus strolls out on the beach in the morning and tells them the reason they haven't caught any fish all night long is because their net is on the wrong side of the boat!  Essentially, their knowledge of fishing, their many years of experience, the fact that they have crafted their lives around this trade - these things don't matter.   They're doing it wrong.

When Jesus inserts himself into their sad narrative on this morning without breakfast, they have a choice.  They can dig their heels in, keep their net on the wrong side of the boat, and go hungry.  Or, they can take a chance that Jesus might be right, cast their net on the other side, and see what happens.  Honestly, in my own life I can see this going either way.  On any given morning, it might depend on whether I'm more hungry or more embarrassed.  I hope, at least on most days, that hunger would win out.

Matthew 5:6, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled" (NIV).     

The disciples choose hungry.  The net is filled so miraculously that it is a second miracle that they ever get it to shore without losing all of the fish.  Peter realizes it's Jesus on shore, so he puts his clothes back on and swims the length of a football field while the other disciples haul the net in.  Jesus is already having breakfast when they arrive.  He serves the bread again.  Pretty typical day in the life of a disciple.


  1. These last 2 chapters are filled with so much truth. i love your take away from this story. I am hoping to be hungry!!

    1. I agree about the truth... and the hunger... Perhaps we need cupcakes? ;)