Counting Fish


We’ve all heard the expression ‘count your blessings.’

If you’re anything like me, being told to do this will instantly fill you with contrition, gratitude, and contentment. For about five minutes.

We all know it’s true that we have been blessed and there’s always someone out there who has it worse than we do. But what does it mean to truly count blessings?

In John 21 we read about how Jesus appeared on the beach after His Resurrection. His disciples were out in a fishing boat but hadn’t caught anything. He told them to cast their nets on the other side and they soon caught too many fish to pull into the boat.

Because something similar had happened before (Luke 5:4), John turns to Peter and says, “It is the Lord!

I can’t even imagine what must have gone through their minds at that point. Peter even jumped overboard, he was too excited to wait for the boat to dock. They must have been so overjoyed.

That’s why John 21:11a confuses me:

“Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three…”

I mean, who cares? Jesus is alive! He’s proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is the Son of God, and the disciples have their Teacher and Friend back! What a completely euphoric moment!

And they pause to count the fish? All 153 of them?

What’s that about?

Whenever I’m reminded to count my blessings, it’s inevitably during a period of drought and worry, when I need to be reminded of God’s faithfulness.

But often times we need a reminder of His faithfulness when the nets are full. Because if we don’t remember Who caught the fish, we start to think we did it and can do so again should the need arise.

Sometimes, if we don’t pause to count the fish, whether there are 153 of them or 2 fish and 5 loaves, we start to believe that we need to take care of ourselves, and we put our trust in manpower instead of God’s power.

That’s when feelings of fear, anxiety, discontentment, jealousy, worry, etc, rear their ugly heads, because our faith is in us and our own abilities. We lose gratitude for what we have because we figure we’ve earned it. Then we focus on earning more. 

In reality, the one thing we truly need, God’s love, can’t be earned. But when it’s freely given and freely receive, it will satisfy and fill us.

We need to remember that when we put our faith in Jesus, we will always be drinking from our saucer. That’s why it’s important to count: to prove to ourselves and others that His goodness will always, always, be enough.

Whether our testimony is that God fed us with 153 fish or that He fed us with 2, the bottom line is that He has fed us and we can trust Him to continue to do so.

Are you counting fish today? 


About Leah Ness

I am a self-professed story addict. Ever since I was little, I've had an overactive imagination and a passion for a well-spun yarn. When I grew up, I was blessed with a passion for God as well. It was then that I noticed a relative shortage of unique Christian fiction, the kind that can both captivate you and glorify God. So, despite the hurdles of things like commas and homonyms, I am endeavoring to write some of my own. Check out my Books page for updates on current and future books. View all posts by Leah Ness

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