Wednesday, August 29, 2007

casting our net

I love this story. Jesus had reached adult life, he had gone to John to be baptised and then on into the wilderness to be tempted in preparation for his ministry. Now, he began to lecture and to gather students. We know Simon Peter and his brother were devout because they had already been disciples of John the Baptist, who then directed them to this new teacher. Even early in his work, Jesus attracted crowds. And on this day he was by the lake of Gennesaret. It must have been mid morning as the fishermen had finished their night work and were sitting on shore, cleaning out their nets. Jesus asks Simon Peter, who was still aboard his boat, to push out from shore and let Jesus speak to the crowd. So we know Simon Peter must have been sitting near him as he spoke. When he was finished, he asked Simon Peter to launch out into deeper water and let down the nets. Now those were large and cumbersome, just cleaned, so this was no small request. It would require faith on the disciple's part to be willing to lay them all out again, especially in daylight, when the nets were visible to the fish. But, impressed by what he had heard, Simon Peter obeyed, and now the nets were so full that he needed to call to his partners to come help him bring in the catch. It was enough to fill both ships.

As I thought about that, it occured to me that these men were part of an operation involving multiple boats and men. Their catch would have been important to the people of their town, who might have gone hungry without it. It was their livelihood and would have meant no income for the fishermen that day, and possible no food for their own families. Quite a few people were then provided for with this unexpected bounty.

It was time for Simon Peter and the others to consider a career change, becoming fishers of men. Prior to this event, Jesus had been a guest at Simon Peter's home and healed his mother-in-law. One wonders how the news was recieved that Simon Peter was abandoning his profession to follow this new teacher. But the text of the gospel indicates that they forsook all and followed him. Physically followed him as he began to visit other towns and taught in their synogogues.

This must have made a big impression on them and would be a reminder when Jesus met up with them again after the resurrection, for they had again toiled in vain, having returned to their old profession.

Every year I do a personal metaphyical study. One year, as I prayed, it came to me to study this idea of 'casting your net'. It was when the whole internet thing was affecting so many people, around the time I had gone into the full time practice of Christian Science and was about to put my name in the Christian Science Journal, a publication read world wide. One thing that has surprised and delighted me on this spiritual journey is the way people find ways to ask me about Christian Science and healing. I have become a fisher of men. And I love it. This is what Jesus instructed his followers to do....heal.

I thought about how those fishermen took care of the nets. At the end of their fishing they pulled them out of the water, removed the fish and then once on shore spread them out. They would have inspected them for holes and cleaned away any debris or weeds. Not a bad idea as we start our day. Check the state of your thinking, know there are no gaps in good, no empty spaces, a perfect design in place. There needs to be time devoted exclusively to Bible study and prayer for oneself. We need to be willing to devote as much care and attention to our spiritual wellbeing as we do to our chosen profession. And not be surprised when others are drawn to us seeking this light.

Go in peace.

1 comment:

Bob Reiman said...

This week I suddenly recognized that this time of following Jesus' demand to put down the nets was preparation (after the resurrection) to go through it all again. And when "this unknown man" told them to cast their nets on the right side, and they again found abundance, no wonder that they immediately knew that it was Jesus. They had done this all before. No surprise that when they came ashore, there was a meal prepared for them. No shortage. Just an opportunity to go back to fishing for men.

Bob R.