Summary: What happes when fishermen stop fishing. What happens when a church stops?
Let’s go fishin
I have never been any good at fishing. Perhaps, when I was a kid it seemed slow and boring. That was brought on by the family curse of almost never catching anything.
I get it from my dad, he is exactly the same way. Now he used to try. He took me along many times. And we would spend the morning sitting in the boat, dad telling me to keep still the fish could hear me moving around. Now I don’t know, if that was true of if it was part of the cover story dad would use to deny the Curse.
I know it is a curse because, for a couple of years we went on a fishing trip with a bunch of guys. If some one was catching something they would wave and yell and the gang would gather in the same area. They would share what bait they were using and the spot was marked with little floats. We would throw in the line and get nothing and the boats around us would do the exact same thing and pull out one or two fish every few minutes. In a day we might get two and the others get 15 to 20 descent fish.
It’s a curse in one way and perhaps a blessing another. When you don’t catch anything, you don’t have to clean any….right.
Today’s scripture is not really about fishing as much as it is about call. The men called by Jesus were being called into a seminary education. They were going to study Theology with Theo (God) himself.
They were probably not much different than professional fisherman today. The work was hard and the hours long. Sometimes they had trouble selling all they could catch and other times they could not catch enough to feed the family much less to sell for cash. They were just fishermen. I imagine they knew how to spin a tale. The ones that got away, the storms that almost took their lives, the biggest catch ever perhaps even some kind of monster stories.
But, what I am wondering is why would they leave what they know for something completely unknown. As it was they had a daily routine, regular meals, and families. Yet Jesus walks up and says follow me and they Go…
It is a pretty good chance that this is not the first meeting between Jesus and these two sets of brothers. This happens after Jesus’ 40 days in the desert where he is tempted by Satan. He comes to the area from Nazareth after John the Baptist is arrested. He has been preaching, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."
So, perhaps the brothers already know Jesus because they heard him preach. Perhaps they asked questions or talked to him. They must have already made up their minds that Jesus was special. Perhaps, even more, that he was sent by God or perhaps even suspect that the He is the messiah.
So they jump ship so to speak to change jobs… They leave fishing and are expecting to be trained to fish for people. They give up the certainty and the stable things in their life to get closer to God. They are trusting this man Jesus knows something and give an instant response.
Their response is a pretty sound statement of faith isn’t it.
- I heard a story of a missionary in Africa who received a knock on the door of his hut one afternoon. Answering, the missionary found a native boy holding a large fish in his hands. The boy said, "Reverend, you taught us what tithing is, so here. I’ve brought you my tithe." As the missionary gratefully took the fish, he questioned the boy. "If this is your tithe, where are the other nine fish?" At this, the boy beamed and said, "Oh, they’re still back in the river. I’m going back to catch them now."
Folks fishing can be a lot of work and often require a lot of faith and even a bit expectation. Even amateurs need equipment which sometime can get very expensive. There are a lot of people that really work hard at fishing, it is all about what you take home and perhaps mount on the wall. But, many people go fishing to relax. They are not worried about what they catch; they just want to get away.
- There is a story that Mark Twain loved to go fishing, but he hated to catch fish. The problem was he went fishing to relax, and catching fish ruined his relaxation, since he had to take the fish off the hook and do something with it.
When he wanted to relax by doing nothing, people thought he was lazy, but if he went fishing he could relax all he wanted. People would see him sitting by the river bank and they would say, “Look, he’s fishing, don’t bother him.” So Mark Twain had the perfect solution: he would take a fishing pole, line, and a bobber, but he wouldn’t put a hook on the end. He would cast the bobber in the water and lay back on the bank. That way he could relax all he wanted and he would be bothered neither by man nor fish.