Great Plains Daily Devotional for 6/7/2022

Today please be in prayer for

Arapahoe First UMC
Beaver City First UMC
Gateway District
Anselmo UMC
Arnold, NE UMC
Merna UMC
Gateway District
Atlanta, NE UMC
Ragan UMC
Wilcox UMC
Gateway District
Banner UMC
Brady UMC
Gateway District

Today's Lectionary Text

John 21:5-6a

Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”

Today's Devotional

Ezekiel and Jonah went fishing. They tried several spots with no luck. Finally, they found a spot where the fish were biting. They caught their limit in half an hour. They hurried back to shore with their catch.

“Wow, what a day!” said Jonah.

“I can’t wait to cook these for supper.” Said Ezekiel.

“Say, Zeke, did you remember to mark the spot?” asked Jonah.

“I sure did!” replied Ezekiel.

“Where did you mark it?” Jonah wondered.

“Right there, on the side of the boat.” Ezekiel pointed proudly. “X marks the spot!”

From the pantheon of fishing stories, John 21:6 reminds me of this classic X marks the spot anecdote. Jesus appears very perceptive when he asks, “you have no fish, have you?” When the answer is no, Jesus offers his fishing advice to try the right side of the boat.

On first reading John 21, we might gloss over Jesus’ advice to fish on the right side. For the average Galilean fishing boat, the right and left side were likely eight feet apart. What difference would it make to fish the right or left side?

The disciples might just as well mark the side of the boat with an X. If they had been fishing the lake all night, why would eight feet help them out? Yet they were willing to try the other side. They were willing to try one more time.

How many times does our spiritual life work this way? We have a big day. We mark the spot. And then, we assume we don’t have to look anymore.

For example, we get baptized. We get a certificate. X marks the spiritual spot, so to speak. We are all set. We are initiated into the family of Jesus Christ. All our sins are forgiven. We have no more worries. Put the certificate in the filing cabinet.

But that certificate only marks one spot in time. Baptism is the initiation ritual. It marks the starting line. It is just the beginning, not the ending. We can get the idea that I am baptized; I am set. I am confirmed; I am set. I am ordained. I am all set. I marked my spot with God.

If it only worked this way. One ritual does not make a spiritual life. A certificate made by human hands does not equal a ticket to heaven. Our baptism certificate is not the X on the boat that gets us across Jordan.

The X that gets us across Jordan is made by two pieces of wood that cross each other. The X on the hill of Calvary is the cross that gets us across. The cross of Christ is the X that truly marks our spot with God. Amen.

-Rev. Scott Evans
Doniphan-Rosedale UMC Parish

Prayer for Reflection

Gracious God, help me remember the cross that marks the spot with you. Help me carry the cross of my calling. In the name of the one who walked across the water, Amen.


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