I’m really glad Jesus hung out with fishermen and chose them on purpose(especially since I’m married to one). Fishing is not necessarily a real cerebral kind of thing-not theologically complex, and nowdays not always even politically correct. However, it’s a very real, tangible, practical and ” in this world while still being part of the other one” kind of thing.
Fishermen spend a LOT of time and energy (and money) and care getting their nets ready. Certain kinds of nets fish best in certain waters for certain kinds/sizes of fish….nowdays there’s lots of rules to all this Jesus and the guys probably didn’t have to deal with:) For the past several months we’ve had a garage full of cork line (corks spaced on a line every so many inches), weed line (I think it helps keep weeds from getting in the net?), lead line (holds the net down so the fish can swim into it and get stuck) and several piles of net. All of this had to be hung (put together) into the appropriate configuration. A lot of work and several days later it is now loaded into the holds on the boat.
Why so much work on the net? It’s all about how fish look at it. Is it the right color to go with the water they’re in? Does it ripple right in the water so it’s not conspicuous-does it seem like it naturally belongs there? The net is really important ’cause it’s a tool to catch the fish, and fishing is definitely about the fish-not the fisherman.
But as I was watching the final stages of this operation, I thought about Jesus calling some fishermen to be “fishers of men” and follow Him. And I thought about how if the net doesn’t look “natural” in the water, fish run away from it. Nobody likes to think of themselves as a fish someone is trying to catch, but some of the evangelism schemes I grew up hearing sure seemed like nets I would have (did!) run from. Lots of hype, pressure, glitz etc. Nowdays we’re more politically correct and sensitive, but I guess I’m coming to the thought that God knows what fish are made of. He knows what we are made of, and it’s OK to reach people in ways that are natural-not contrived.
There are people in my life that I deeply want to see know God’s love. I don’t know how God makes that happen. But I think I see some parallels: the need for boyancy (corks), depth (lead line), keeping the weeds out of my life (weed line), and hanging in the water in a way that is natural-not contrived. You can learn a lot from fishermen.
Standing here beside the ocean
Staring at the sea
Wondering how the God who made all this
Could still choose me
And yet, I hear your voice, Lord,
Even as in days of old
Promising a harvest-
More than my net can hold.
“Cast your net into the water
Put your trust in Me.
Diverse fish in diverse places-
Trust Me and you’ll see.
It ain’t over yet, My child.
The best is still to come.
As I always have,
I still hang out with fishermen.”
(From a dream, 8/3/01)