Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"fishers of men" and fishermen

I always wondered why I loved fishing so much.  Reading through the gospel of Matthew earlier I very well may have found my answer.  One that would give me an answer to the simple question, "Why do I love to fish."  Before, I would have determined it's because I'm a country boy who loves the outdoors.  Yes, this is true.  I am a backwoods country boy who enjoys being outdoors.  This logic seems to simple and obvious.  There has to be something deeper.  Why would God want me to spend a lot of time fishing?  Many portray fishing as a waste of time.  I agree to some extent.  When you think about waiting all day only to be rewarded with a small amount of food, a mere moment of excitement, or a simple release back into the water.
Fishing is much more too me.  It is something I grew up doing.  It defines not only where I came from but who I am.  Considering God made me who I am that is of great importance.  I always wondered why I would get so giddy the night before and the morning of.  You would have thought I just received my first red rider BB gun each and everytime I took a fishing trip.  I thought it might be a "childish" feeling towards fishing.  That theory became "water under the bridge" when I went nearly every day two summers ago.  Hardly sleeping the night before each trip.  Putting forth great effort towards catching bait and making sure I was prepared.  I hardly caught any fish at all two summers ago (I don't fish for bluegill).  Yet, each and every time I found myself prepared and just as excited as the time before.  Spending countless hours only to leave the river in disappointment.
What makes me want to fish?  Why do I choose to put forth so much effort knowing the possibilities of actually catching a keeper?  These questions can be parallel to the ones we ask ourselves when deciding to follow Christ?  Obviously, their not of the same significance.  Regardless,  What makes you want to follow God?  Why would one put forth so much effort in serving a God you have no control over?  The clear answer to these questions is faith.  I have faith that I will catch a keeper.  I have faith that there is a God who I am more than glad to give complete control of my life too (Considering, he controls everything).  Is it a coincidence that the mystery of God relates to the mystery of fishing?  I don't think so.
The scripture I came across while reading Matthew was one that will be familiar to many of you in chapter 17 (NIV).

24 After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”
 25 “Yes, he does,” he replied.

   When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own children or from others?”

 26 “From others,” Peter answered.

   “Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him. 27 “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”

      Before I explain to you why this gave me the answer to my question.  Do not take what I am saying as biblical truth.  To determine my answer I actually took this scripture completely out of context.  First, I want to imagine what it felt like to be Peter.  God just told this "fishermen" made disciple to throw out his line and he will catch a fish.  Can you imagine?  The mystery of fishing completely being thrown down the gutter due to the faith and power he had in Jesus.  I imagine him still being extremely giddy and running outside anxious to cast out his pole even though Jesus had already miraculously filled his nets a time before (Matt. 4:19).  Thoughts running rampant through his head:
"Do I have to put any bait on?"
"How far do I have to throw it out there?"
"What kind of fish am I going to catch?"
"Will more than one fish have coins in it's mouth?"

      All this excitement and doubt ultimately appearing as a lack of faith and understanding.  Have you figured out why God wants me to love fishing?  It is because I want to prove myself wrong.  The mystery and the lack of faith reels (see what I did there) up inside of me until I can't resist it.  It motivates me to always be prepared and ready for that one moment in time when my bobber could disappear.  The mystery of what bait I should use, how far I should throw it, and what in the world is out there keeps me going.  Imagine a man who had witnessed miracle after miracle still doubting that God would allow him to catch a fish in any possible way.  That is me minus the presence and observed miracles of Jesus.  In the sense that I haven't literally seen Jesus walk this earth and do miracles  (I know what you were thinking).  Conclusively, I fish because I don't think I'll catch anything.  Still yet, this mysterious faith abides inside of me waiting for it's opportunity to jerk!