Mark 1:16-20 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men.
If you know me, you know that I love to fish. Our favorite place to fish is Old River WMA. We take the boat out early in the morning, stop along the way and catch crawfish for bait, and then unload the boat in the river. It’s always a treat to bring home an ice chest full of catfish. We may have to work a little hard, but at the same time we have loads of fun, and if the fish are biting, we get rewarded with supper! That’s always pretty cool! We have usually made several trips to the river by this time of the year each spring, but due to the massive amounts of rain we’ve had, the water levels have remained too high for fishing.
My favorite fishing trip memory involves a vacation to the country I love second to North America: Costa Rica, with the man I love second only to the good Lord! We booked a deep sea fishing excursion. At first it was absolutely BORING! We were on the water a good four hours before that first fish took the line. Jeff said, “This one is yours.” I began reeling that fish in, and then reeling, and reeling, and reeling. It was humongous! I had never caught a fish like this one in my entire life. My heart was racing. I was sweating. My arms were burning. I kept reeling. I asked Jeff if he wanted to take over, and he said, “No. This one is yours.” After 20 minutes, which seemed like 2 hours, I finally saw the fish at the edge of the boat. Our first mate landed the fish for me, bringing him into the boat. It was a 180 pound sailfish! I have never in my life caught a fish even one tenth of that size! After that fish, my husband caught a huge sailfish, and later we each caught one more sailfish. It was exhilarating and definitely a trip to be remembered for years to come!
On our last trip to Costa Rica, we booked an inshore fishing trip. It was exhilarating but not in a good way. The weather wasn’t good for fishing. The water was rough. The boat was rocking up and down and sideways. We actually thought it was going to flip over a time or too. My husband and I held on for dear life, and if a fish had taken the bait, we couldn’t have turned loose of the boat to reel it in even if we wanted to. It was a rough, rocky ride, and when we made it back to shore we were ready to kiss the ground. I think we actually died a little out there on those rough seas that day…or at least we thought we did! We didn’t even get one bite on that entire, crazy, nerve wracking, scary fishing trip!
In Mark, Chapter 1, Jesus is calling his first disciples. Here we see men who had made their living fishing. This was likely a family business and a good source of income in Galilee at the time. Fishing was the life these men knew. Jesus called them to follow Him and explained that He would make them fishers of people. He related their new calling to something that they could easily relate to. I always loved this scripture because as an old country girl, I can relate too. I love that Jesus calls us to be fishers of people. He doesn’t call us to leave our current jobs or vocation though. He wants us to fish right where we are all day long.
Fishing for people is a lot like fishing for fish. Sometimes, you may go days without ever getting a bite. Some days, going fishing may feel scary. The waters may be rough. We may get a little anxious or overwhelmed. But then there are days that you are reeling, and reeling, and reeling. Our hearts race with excitement, but we do not grow weary. We know that we are called to tell others about Christ, and we know that Christ is right there in the boat with us every time we set out to go fishing for men. We aren’t fishing alone. As fisher’s of men, we merely need to share the Good News. The Holy Spirit will take care of landing the fish. When was the last time you went fishing? Now, more than ever, people need to hear about Christ. Let’s go fishing today!