“When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread.” (John 21:9 (ESV))
N.T. Wright observes:
How dreadfully easy it is for Christian workers to get the impression that we’ve got to do it all. God, we imagine, is waiting passively for us to get on with things. If we don’t organize it, it won’t happen. If we don’t tell people the good news, they won’t hear it. If we don’t change the world, it won’t be changed. ‘He has no hands but our hands’, we are sometimes told.
What a load of rubbish. Whose hands made the sun rise this morning? Whose breath guided us to think, and pray, and love, and hope? Who is the Lord of the world, anyway? We may be given the holy spirit to enable us to work for Jesus; but the holy breath is not independent of the master who breathes it out, of the sovereign God, the creator. Neither the institutional church nor its individual members can upstage him. Jesus welcomes Peter’s catch. He asks him to bring some of it. But he doesn’t, in that sense, need it.
Of course we are to work hard. Of course we are to be organized. Of course there is no excuse for laziness, sloppiness, half-heartedness in the kingdom of God. If it’s God’s work we’re doing, we must do it with all our might. But let’s have no nonsense about it all being up to us, about poor old Jesus being unable to lift a finger unless we lift it for him. In fact, we are much more likely to work effectively once we get rid of that paranoia-inducing notion. Jesus remains sovereign. Thank God for that.