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After casting the net, then what?

- Practice, Practice, Practice


Most Christians are familiar with the New Testament account of Jesus’ disciples’ decision to go fishing after he had risen from the dead (see John 21). There they were at the sea of Tiberias, having spent the night fishing to no avail. Their Master, whom they didn’t recognize, appeared on the shore in the morning and instructed them to cast their net on the right side of the boat, which they did, and immediately, “they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes” (John 21:6). They recognized Jesus and went to shore to dine with him.

As Mary Baker Eddy explains: “. . . wakened by their Master’s voice, they [the disciples] changed their methods, turned away from material things, and cast their net on the right side. Discerning Christ, Truth, anew on the shore of time, they were enabled to rise somewhat from mortal sensuousness, or the burial of mind in matter, into newness of life as Spirit” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 35).

While reading the account a few weeks ago, I suddenly saw that one important verse is often not mentioned. It’s a transitional one from the boat to that profound meal that was about to take place. It’s one that might even seem insignificant in light of what was about to happen. But it struck me as one of great importance. 

It reads, “The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off” (John 21:8, English Standard Version).

Dragging the net full of fish! This apparently mundane statement leapt off the proverbial page for me as I realized that they didn’t just cast their net on the right side—a change in method that symbolizes a transformation of their thinking from the material illusion to the spiritual reality—they had to bring in the fruitage of that act. They had to haul in the catch!

Why is that so significant? Because it reminded me that though it is wonderful to catch a spiritual concept, recognize where that angel thought came from, and be healed by it, we can do still more. 

It seems to me that as Christians, we have a responsibility—as did the disciples of old—to bring that catch to shore and use it not only for our own nourishment, but for others who are searching for healing. We can give that food—that understanding—to those dear seekers for Truth. As Jesus said that morning, we need to feed the sheep of his flock. 

Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “Those, who are willing to leave their nets or to cast them on the right side for Truth, have the opportunity now, as aforetime, to learn and to practise Christian healing” (Science and Health, p. 271).

Using that catch—those spiritual lessons learned—sharing it with others and healing them, isn’t that at the core of why we’ve chosen to be Christian Scientists? It is for me.

And what about you? How are you seeing your “catch” bless others?

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