Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” –Mark 1:17 The Message
Right now, if Jesus was to come looking for fisher folk in North Dakota, he’d find them sitting in their tricked out ice huts on Devils Lake in search of the monster walleye. Whether they’d pick up and leave their prime spots to go with him I haven’t a clue. What I do know is that Jesus wouldn’t find me sitting outside on a frozen lake in January when it’s 10 below – fish or no fish – no way, no how!
Maybe that’s why I have a hard time relating to this story in Mark’s gospel. I’ve only gone fishing a couple of times in my life, the last time involving a close encounter with a recalcitrant catfish that left me with a bloody hand and a strong distaste for bottom feeders. Nope, with my unfortunate record I’d stand nothing to lose by abandoning my tackle box and net. I simply find no joy in fishing, so following Jesus would be a no-brainer.
But for Simon and Andrew and James and John, fishing was more than a recreational diversion; it was their livelihood. They engaged in this activity day in and day out and were probably quite successful at it. So the stakes were considerably higher for them when it came to dropping everything and following the rabbi. Jesus knew just where to reach them and how to connect with them – talk with them about fishing and pique their interest with the concept of catching folks. However it exactly went down, those men left their vocation for a higher calling and apparently never looked back.
Jesus is good at meeting us and connecting with us in our own little corner of the universe. If we are open to his presence in our lives, we may find ourselves undertaking an amazing journey for a higher purpose that will sure enough put some wear on the soles of our sandals. The key is to hear the good news, act now, and ask questions later–or better yet, just forget about the questions and go. A little faith never hurts.
Listen to our Lord’s words: “Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message” (Mark 1:15, The Message). Heed this call, dear friends, and oh the places you just might go. This particular Tennessee native had no intention of being anything but a secondary school English teacher and would-be novelist. Now I’m firmly planted in eastern North Dakota battling snow drifts, eating lefse (the Norwegian equivalent of manna), and sharing life and ministry with a wonderful group of people.
Being a good steward and a faithful disciple are inextricably intertwined. We respond to the Good News of Jesus Christ by giving the very best of ourselves–our time, our talents, and our possessions–to God. And we listen. We listen for Jesus calling us to a new kind of fishing; forget the pike, go for the folks.
Copyright (c) 2009, The Rev. Sharron Lucas, all rights reserved. Used by permission.