Gone Fishin’

We don’t just want to live – we want a life that matters. We don’t just want a job, we want a purpose, a job given significance because it’s truly meaningful. This, of course, is no surprise – we were created to live meaningful and significant lives, co-laboring in what God has given us. This made me wonder — were we all meant to do the same job, or were we all meant to do different jobs? And the more I thought about it, the more I came to the conclusion that the answer is – yes!

In my youth, I attended a bible college that was founded by an award winning salesman. So needless to say, training in evangelism was considered the preeminent task at hand. We were taught to pitch a clear gospel, in such a way as to confirm conversion – to close the deal. Therefore, the college’s exegetical take on Matthew 4:19 “And he said to them — follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” was considered the unstated real meaning of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). So let’s get out there and catch those fish (people) and haul them into the boat, before they get away (go to hell). But would this have actually been how Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew would have understood Jesus’ invitation to come follow him?

I guess what I’m asking is — how would they have taken this metaphor? Would they have taken it as specific – having once spent their lives catching fish . . . now they would catch people? Or is it more likely they would have taken it more generally – having once been preoccupied with fish, now the lives of people would preoccupy them? Now you may see this as a distinction without a difference – to which I would remind you that our modern notion of evangelism would not have been the first thing to have occured to them.

GettyImages-55847319-630x418For those Jesus called to be his disciples, Jesus was a local carpenter, who disappeared into the wilderness for forty days like a prophet of God. So when he returned, they would have thought of him as a man called of God – who was now calling them to join him. John the Baptist was already known to them to be a prophet of God, calling people to repentance – they may therefore, have assumed that Jesus would be like John, calling for repentance . . . unaware that Jesus was the very one that John had been prophesying about.

Like the disciples, we are called to join Jesus – to love all those whom Jesus loves . . . in the way that Jesus loves them. So you could say — we all have the same job. But because we’re all so uniquely deployed, so particularly gifted, and each of us having lived through such specific experiences – the way the love of Jesus within us makes its way through us to others, takes on a life of its own . . . so it’s never really the same job. This is because God doesn’t view us with the same impersonal detachment we might have for fish – his call on our lives is a call to relationship . . . so relationship is the preeminent task at hand.

It’s an invitation to dance the esplanade all the way into his presence . . .



5 thoughts on “Gone Fishin’

  1. We swam in the same pond and so I can fully appreciate how liberating it is to see the metaphor with a much broader vision. Thanks for the thoughtful work you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your writings are the most refreshing things I’ve read in many years. The fruit is evident brother. I’ve never desired to be anyone but me, aside from a “whole lot” better me…but I can honestly say, I desire strongly to write with the eloquence in which you do. I’ve said to my 6 children many times, “everything in life is a game, except relationships.” I don’t play to win, I just enjoy playing while I can. Your writing above has enlightened and expanded my previous vantage point. Thank you kindly.

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  3. *grin* Great song and such a timely post! 🙂
    Just waking up over here, after a long weekend, so I’m a little groggy… but, what I’m trying to say is something along the lines of: Please always remember that you were quite instrumental in developing my most steadfast perspective about true Christian faith…. that developing one’s relationship with God… the kind that shows you how to spread a bit of His grace and Love to all of His “flock”, however different or wayward, is the best reason I know for our why we were given the gift of life! Thank you for helping me learn that and for your words today!

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  4. When I was younger, I looked with confusion at the Great Commission. I had felt the sting of being pushed away by those who saw only one way of accomplishing this task. I had more Christians in my face warning me about Hell than I ever had explaining the love of Jesus. Even after I had found my place as a follower of Christ, I still found myself confused about what He would have me do. I couldn’t believe that He would have me do anything that would push so many away and only hook the very few available through fear.
    Sometimes we learn things quickly and sometimes they just seem to sift into our consciousness. We take bits and pieces of what we read, what we hear, what others say and the layers become the substance of our knowledge. Having spent so much time worrying that I wasn’t accomplishing what He would have me do, I have many layers that pertain to this subject. Thank you for the latest and perhaps the best explained layer so far.

    Liked by 1 person

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