These last few weeks have been a whirlwind, so this is the first time I have had an opportunity to pen the thoughts that have been swirling around in my heart and mind. Greg and I had the great privilege a few weeks ago of hosting Steve Green, President of Hobby Lobby, for an intimate dinner party. I was reminded recently of Steve’s story when my dear friend and brother in Christ, Jeff Johnson, gave a devotional for the YPO Christian Fellowship Network. Jeff referenced one of my favorite passages of Scripture from John 21:1-11. “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.”
How many times in our life or in our business do we have our nets thrown on the wrong side of the boat? How many of those times have we decided that we knew best where to cast our net? How many times are we coming up empty handed with no answers for the empty net?
It was a treat to hear Steve tell the Hobby Lobby story. There were so many nuggets of gold laced throughout what he shared that it is impossible to expound on them all. But Jeff reminded me of one of those nuggets that is incredibly valuable. Years ago, during a time of recession, Steve’s dad, David, called a family meeting – the first of its kind for the family. David told the family that given the market – he was concerned that the company just might not make it. He wanted the family to understand how dire the situation was. As David sought God’s guidance, he realized that he had become somewhat prideful about the success of the business. It was as if God said, “If you think you can do all of this on your own, let me take my hand of blessing off the business and then we will see what happens.” At that point, David completely surrendered Hobby Lobby to God. From that day forward, the Green family committed that it was God’s business – not theirs. That commitment to the Lord has changed everything about how they operate the business, as well as how they give and steward the resources God has blessed them with. Today, they give away over half of the profits from the business.
There are several lessons in these two stories:
1) Every good and perfect gift comes from above. We are to be stewards of those gifts – not owners. Our families, our children, our businesses and yes, our time, treasure and talents are all His. If we grab hold of this truth, the way we handle these gifts should look much different.
2) At all times, we need to remember that God is smarter than we are. He doesn’t want to just co-pilot with us – He desires to pilot our ship. One of my favorite daily prayers has become – God help me surrender all that I am, have, do and desire to You today. When there are times that I am at a loss – Jeremiah 33:3 is a field guide for me – “ Call to me and I will answer you, and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” God has the answers to our questions, but we must first call on Him.
3) When God gives us the answer – we must trust and obey. If the disciples had not obeyed Jesus when He said cast your net on the other side, they would not have witnessed the miracle that they did.
How many times have we missed out on having a net overflowing with fish by doing it our own way … and ignoring God’s instruction?
He truly is a Good Father … and all that we have is His … may we trust Him fully, surrendering ourselves completely to Him.
And remember … when He tells you to cast your net on the other side … do it with joy and with trust, because He knows exactly what you need to receive in your net.