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THE RISK OF FISHING FOR SOULS


A little more than 10 years ago (2000), a movie called The Perfect Storm was released, which graphically portrayed the dangers of the fishing industry even in modern times. The movie is about the crew of the Andrea Gail, a fishing boat out of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Their families and the whole town is hurting financially, so they decide to risk everything and travel to a remote but fertile fishing ground during the unpredictably stormy month of October. On their way back to Gloucester, the Andrea Gail encounters the "perfect storm" of 1991 and is never heard from again.


Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm, says, "There are many kinds of work that are dangerous, but one of the interesting things about fishing is that it really hasn't changed much over time. It's been mechanized, of course, but the basic reality of going to sea for months at a stretch is the same as it was 100 years ago. You're way beyond help from anyone else; you're on your own. I think that forms a certain kind of character. Not only does everyone know someone who has died at sea but everyone who works in the fishing industry has almost died. Every single fisherman you talk to has almost gotten nailed at one time or another." The fact is the fishing industry kills more of its workers per capita than any other job in the United States. (Eugene A Maddox, Interlachen, Florida)


It takes courage to be a fisherman, and it takes courage, as well, to fish for the souls of people. Jesus has called us to "make disciples," but that is not a job for the fair-weather Christian. We must be willing to spend time with people, sharing the Word as God gives us the opportunity, to be sure. But we must also be willing to keep at it until the job is done.


In the meantime, we risk ridicule; we risk rejection; we risk persecution, and some of our number around the world risk even death. At the very least, we face discouragement sometimes, and the job gets hard and tiring, but if we're going to multiply disciples, as Christ commanded us to, then we must not give up. We must be committed to completing the task no matter what it costs.


(From a sermon by C. Philip Green, The Church's Concerns (or priorities), 1/20/2011)

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