Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Casting and Mending Nets

Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him. Mark 1:16-20

I am very much a child of the sea and one who loves images of the water at dusk and sunrise, when working folks are doing their best unimpeded by sunbathers and tourists. When I was a small child our neighbor was a pastor and a fisherman. He casts his nets early in the morning and with the rising tide. He taught all of his children to fish and his son Rusty would pull a wagon and sell the fish. They taught me how to fillet fish - children teaching children in our carefree summers as small children. I wander to the ocean these days at sunrise and sunset but the folks who are fishing are mostly surf casting and nets rarely fly anymore, Some say there are not enough fish. Others probably don't know how and most are fishing for pleasure and not for food and sustenance. My neighbors were living close to the bone, and needed the food and the income.

Simon and Andrew cast their nets, they were fisherman, as Matthew tells us, and there was no pleasure sport in their work. They were feeding and clothing families with the catch and their lives and livelihoods depended on their skill and success. And yet,with so much risk and so much unpredictability, they set their nets down, risking all to follow Jesus. They put their families at risk, they put themselves fully into the hands of God, these rough, hard working men, in order to be followers of Jesus. A remarkable and almost incomprehensible scene. Who do we know who has really given up everything to follow Jesus? We say we have but most of us have had a little bounce room and much financial support. They had no loans to take, just their complete trust in God.

So today, I want to follow the example of Andrew and Simon, who were willing to give up all to follow Jesus. Their lives were not easy, and yet they were blessed daily by God's love and direction in their lives. May we offer our all today so that through us God might bless the world.

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