“Now as he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. (17) And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. (18) And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. (19) And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. (20) And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.”
When Jesus was looking for people to call to follow him he primarily saw and considered fishermen.
These were His thoughts as he walked by the Sea of Galilee; looking for people he would recruit:
He saw two fishermen and thought within Him: my primary goal is to win lost souls. I can make this happen with people who can understand the concept of risking their lives in boats and ships on unstable waters and at times stormy conditions and yet cast their nets into the sea to catch fishes they might only eat less than a percentage themselves. He looked at Simon and Andrew and thought, these people can risk their lives and deny themselves on life threatening waters, for days and weeks, out of their homes, out of their normal place of habitation – the land, just to catch fishes they could supply to feed the entire society. He saw people who could deny themselves and take-up the wildest job in their era.
He thought of people who have seen the fact that though they have fished in the sea for years, the fishes have never totally and completely finished in the sea and hence can consider any and every trip upon the waters like their very first, knowing there are countless they have to work tirelessly to get into their nets. Who also understand that the fishes could be cunning at time and frustrate their efforts for nights, yet they will still step out there the next time hoping to even catch bigger than ever.
He thought of people who understood that they could never use their bare hands and go beneath the waters to handpick the fishes. People who knew they must and must only depend on something very complex to handle and way bigger than themselves; needing bigger and bigger the greater the fishes they want to catch. People who understand the concept of total dependence and can understand depending on the Holy Spirit!
He thought of people who primarily were team players; who could go in twos; who knew the phenomenon of “grab there while I hold here so we can pull together”. People who knew they were complements to complete each other and not competitors. He knew His business was not to take on people who will try and outdo each other but know there are rather countless fishes and if only they will step on the waters, they will get some.
He thought of people who understood that once they caught a fish, they had to send it to processors who should either dry, grill, fry or cook the fishes lest they go bad and lost. He thought of people who understood that catching the fish, though stupendously adventurous, is not an end in itself.
When He looked at James and John, he thought of people who understood that without sitting to mend their nets, their next bout might go bad. Akin to that, people could sit for long to look into a complex net of intertwined ropes that are joined to make a bigger and better weapon or device for fishing. People who will know mending – retreat, revival and meditation – for a greater catch next time.
These were the people Jesus wanted to recruit. Let us pray that we can yield to these attributes of Jesus kind of recruits because He has made us Fishers of Men. Amen
By Raphael Mandela Kpeli