Discover His heart: He calls us to be fishers of men
I grew up in Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes. I have many grand memories of canoeing on the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes, swimming in their cool spring-fed waters during the hot summers, almost drowning in Cedar Lake (not such a grand memory) and fishing in lakes all over Minnesota. Lots and lots of fishing.
I’ve sat for hours in a boat or on a pier with hardly a nibble, waiting for the big one to come along. I’ve caught hundreds of sunfish, perch and trout and I’ve even snagged a walleye or two. I love to fish, I don’t know why, but I do. And there’s nothing like taking fresh-caught fish, cleaning them up and pan frying them on the spot, tasting their freshness while dodging all those bones. Great memories! However, our fishing story today reminds me of another kind of catch, one with an eternal destination.
@ Luke 5
“[Jesus] said to Simon, ‘now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.’ ‘Master,’ Simon replied, ‘we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.’ And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear!” (4-6) Fishing with Jesus – now that was a sweet catch! I’m blessed by the fact that Jesus is concerned about our temporal needs, abundantly providing for us at just the right moment, but as we continue to read the story, we understand that the compelling goal of Jesus was to complete His mission. He was looking for fishers of men.
My mom was a fisherman and very successful, but she wasn’t after trout or bass or grouper. She was always fishing for people. In her lifetime, she caught hundreds and hundreds of lost and hurting people and reeled them into the lifeboat, one by one, day in and day out. In all my years of observation, I never saw one person refuse her message of the love of Jesus. Although she was delightful in every respect, her success was not due to her eloquent speech or charismatic personality. No, she was a successful fisher of men because she got into the boat with Jesus and threw out the net, so to speak. Every morning as she made the beds and prepared for the day she asked God to lead her as she went about her day to those who were in season, ready to be caught. And He did.
One of the things that made mom a great fisher of men was her acceptance of others. It’s easy to be busy judging and condemning the bad behavior of others rather than being about the business of catching them. Not mom. To her there wasn’t a living, breathing soul that did not deserve to hear about the Lord, no throwbacks for her, everyone was a keeper. “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” (6:37) Mom even shared the love of Jesus with those who had wanted to hurt her at one time or another because all she cared about was their eternal destination. She’s in heaven now with a boatload of catch.
The stories of her fishing expeditions are endless, but on one occasion mom left the grocery store with a cart full of groceries. She was walking to her car when a woman approached her. It was one of those moments when Jesus said, “Cast your net.” Without concern for the melting ice cream or wilting lettuce, she turned her attention to the woman who said, “I really need a cigarette. Do you have a cigarette you could give me?” Mom smiled and said, “No, I don’t have one, but I have something that will satisfy you much more than a cigarette.” She shared with her the wonderful love of Jesus and His power to satisfy. The tearful woman accepted the Lord as her Savior and started attending church with her. Yes, mom was quite the fisherman.
After filling two boats full of fish (be still my heart), Jesus said to Simon, “From now on you’ll be fishing for people!’ And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.” (5:10-11) If you’re looking for me, I’m with Simon – Gone fishin’!
Moving Forward: Net in hand…looking for the catch of the day!
Tomorrow @ Galatians 1-3