Watching my daughter fish on the lake out back this summer has been quite a joy. She got the fishing gene from her grandmother, my mom. It’s something that I didn’t get, but one I can appreciate. My daughter can stand for hours at the edge of the lake, even after she has worked all day, and cast her line into the water over and over as she tries to catch the “big one”. With each cast there’s an expectation of hope that she will bring in a fish. The size doesn’t matter. It’s the success of the cast that matters. She rejoices over every fish she brings in.
Isn’t this exactly what God looks for from us? God has put each of His children in the ‘pond’ that is His Kingdom. And, He has provided us with all the equipment we need to ‘fish’. But unlike fishing in the natural world, He has provided an unlimited supply of people we can fish for. So many beautiful colors, sizes and types are out there. Some are docile, some fighters, others want us to think they are ignoring the tantalizing ‘bait’ we have put in front of them when we know they aren’t. But, as every good fisherman knows, patience is a requirement for success. If we get anxious and reel our line in too soon, before the bait is actually claimed, our fish loses interest and moves on. If we aren’t attentive, our bait can be taken, and the ‘nibbler’ wanders off before the hook can be set. Either way the ‘fish’ gets away. A loss for both them and us. It’s our job as ‘fishers of men’ to learn how to be the best fisherman possible. It’s not enough to have the best gear, although that does help, we have to learn all about the fish so every cast is successful and no fish gets away.
Jesus knew that fishermen would understand how to catch people for the Kingdom. As He said to Peter: Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19. Jesus had watched the men he called from the sea as they fished for a living. He knew they had skills and knew how to seek out the fish and to learn their patterns in order to be successful. As fishermen, they must have been thrilled to move on to fishing for bigger ‘fish’. Jesus knew that life-long fishermen would know how to apply their skills and knowledge of fishing into catching people for Him. And He was right. When Peter was sent out to fish on his own, after Jesus had ascended to heaven, 3000 people were caught in one day. Now that is one successful fishing trip!
These days I watch my youngest child fish our little lake out back. But, I believe that one-day God will let me see her ‘fishing’ God’s earthly waters that teem with’ fish’ that she will catch for the Kingdom. For now, I’ll continue to enjoy watching her fish at the lake edge while I fish in the Kingdom and wait for the day when we’ll fish together for God.