In high school I invited this girl out on a date. Being from the South, what could be more romantic than a picnic dinner on the bank of a small lake? I packed peanut butter sandwiches, chips, fruit, and some Little Debbie cakes for snacks. I found the greenest spot to lay out the blanket. Sitting down the picnic basket, I went back to the truck to get the fishing poles and tackle. My Southern Belle sat in silence on the blanket as I walked down to the lake to cast my fishing line into the water. I should have noticed the disgust on her face as I forced the Red Wiggler onto the hook and wiped worm juice on my pants leg. We sat in cold silence in the August heat. I finally asked her what was wrong and she said, “I don’t like to fish. I think it is gross.” I also discovered that she does not care for guys who like to fish.
It is true, no matter how odd it seems, there are some people who do not like fishing. Not everyone was born to be a fisherman.
At the beginning of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus calls four of his twelve disciples to follow him. He says, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people” (Mark 1:17). Jesus invites four fishermen to follow him by using a metaphor that speaks to their identity. It is the mark of a true leader to know his followers. A leader is one who understands his followers and is willing to speak their language. If we are going to lead then we got to know our followers.
One of those fishermen whom Jesus called out is Simon, who later will be called Peter. Towards the end of his life he writes, “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received” (I Peter 4:10). I can’t help but wonder as he wrote those words if Peter was contemplating the days when Jesus came walking by the Sea of Galilee and calls him out of fishing for creatures that swim in the sea to fishing for people. There is a freedom to following Jesus when we use our gifts and talents.
Jesus doesn’t ask us to become something or someone we are not. If they were carpenters would he have asked them to be “builders of the Kingdom?” What if they were brick masons? Or mechanics? He called them out to be followers in a way that fit their identity. We may not all be fishermen, but we are called to share the Good News. We use whatever gift we have received to serve one another in love. Peter calls it an act of stewardship, using what has been entrusted to us. Kinda like fishermen being called to fish for people.
Do you agree or disagree?