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When Jesus Was a Consultant

April 3, 2012

I worked as a management consultant for fifteen years before settling down with the company I am currently with. Like attorneys and used-car salesmen, consultants are subject to their fair share of derision and ridicule. I honestly couldn’t tell you why, since it is such a fine and upstanding profession. The truth is, being a management consultant rocked – it was stimulating, challenging, and you got to see the direct results of your work.

I recently developed an even greater admiration for the profession when I discovered that Jesus himself had a brief stint as a management consultant. That’s right. You can read it for yourself, right there in the Gospel of John, chapter 21. At this point in the gospel story Jesus had already risen from the dead, but he had been a little spotty on making public appearances. The disciples hadn’t seen him in a while, and I am sure they were getting antsy, unsure of what they were supposed to do next.

One day Peter looks out at the lake and says, “I’m going fishing.” Just like that, like he couldn’t take one more minute of waiting around for nothing to happen. A few other disciples joined in. “Good idea, Peter. I’m with you.” So off they went into Peter’s boat, back to their old fishing jobs in an attempt to do something productive instead just sitting around all day in that stuffy Upper Room.

They ended up fishing all night long without getting any results. Not only had Jesus stood them up for the past few weeks, but they couldn’t even do their old job right. Nothing seemed to be going their way.Those fishermen were probably not in the best of spirits by the time the sun began to rise the next morning.

Next thing you know, Jesus shows up on the scene. He’s walking along the beach in a oh-it’s-no-big-deal-I-am-risen-from-the-dead-and-I-think-today-maybe-I’ll-just-make-a-fire-and-cook-breakfast-for-my-friends kind of casual way. The disciples didn’t really notice him.

Jesus calls out to the boat from the shore, “Hey guys, have you caught anything?” And they shout back, “No!” Then Jesus goes all into consulting mode and offers some business advice to his client: “Throw your net down on the other side, and you will catch some fish.”

Well. I am a little surprised that none of those hearty fishermen had thought of that yet. They had been working all night, after all, and I am pretty sure there were some seasoned professionals in the crew. But that’s how it is when you are a consultant. You always see the thing that is so obvious, yet no one else has noticed because they are so darn close to it.

The men shrug their shoulders. “Ok, whatever,” they mumble, then down goes the net across the other side of the boat. And, Surprise! It immediately fills up with fish, becoming so heavy that they can’t even heave it onto the boat.

Continued at The High Calling

Image by Kevin Schoenmakers. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2012 7:40 pm

    i come to the conclusion it takes someone outside of a group to bring on new ideas… for the whole group to be able to accept it with less political stress or ego problems (fear).

  2. April 3, 2012 9:02 pm

    Whereas I agree with your conclusion that Jesus cares about our businesses and work life, It is a stretch to use John 21 as a proof. Jesus did not do this sign to dignify work, but because he is the Lord who wants his disciples to believe that He is the Christ (as it says in John 20:30) and thus have life in his name. The sign does not point to the work of the disciples, but to the work of Christ accomplishing something the disciples could never have accomplished (with or without a consultant), that is, new hearts and new life.

  3. April 4, 2012 5:12 am

    Stretching is what I’m all about.

    Here’s how I put it in one of the comments at The High Calling… Jesus made a huge statement to the disciples once he showed up — Like he wants to lavish us with all good things just because he can, just to show us his mastery over everything, including our jobs. It’s almost like the results of the work (a big catch) became less important than the reality of His presence.

  4. sawyerspeaks permalink
    April 6, 2012 5:53 pm

    What a great read. I can see a book of these…

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