Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Leaving your nets...or seeking a different catch

The first section of this week's lesson about Christ Jesus tells about the beginning of his ministry. In Matthew's gospel, we read about what he said when he invited Simon Peter and his brother Andrew to become his first two students. He had been preaching, telling those who would listen that the kingdom of heaven is right here, right now. Now he was to take a very important step in his own spiritual journey, he was to become a teacher. One wonders if this is not what God had already told him, Follow Me, and I will make you a fisher of men.

He is out and about one day, walking by the sea of Galilee. He sees two men, fishermen, casting nets into the sea. These men were already disciples of John the Baptist so perhaps this call was not so sudden and unexpected as it appears. I would love to imagine that they were talking about the things John was saying while they fished. John was preaching about 'he who was to come'. These men, then, were moving from disciples to apostles as they were going to be learning from the Messiah himself. So in effect, they did not lay aside their nets, they just changed them, they sought a different catch. He calls them while they were at work, just as he calls Matthew, the writer of this gospel, while he was busy collecting taxes. (an interesting thought for those cherishing the idea of become a fulltime Christian Science practitioner) Another thing that occurs to me is that Peter and his brother and the two sons of Zebedee, who were partners in their fishing ventures and owned many boats, were wealthy. Matthew, the tax collector, was rich. John was known to the high priest and had a house in Jerusalem. All were called to leave that behind, or at least change their focus, to travel with Jesus on his ministry, to learn from him a new trade, as it were. They were referred to as 'unlearned and ignorant' but that simply meant that they were not trained in a school by a rabbi. Even the sons of the wealthy were taught a trade.

So the invitation is issued and accepted. They are to 'follow him'. They are to become fishers of men. These first four are to leave their nets, the others to leave their source of income behind as well. Just what is it we are asked to 'leave' behind when we start on a spiritual journey for answers and healing? Just what is we gain? Mrs. Eddy says what Jesus gave was "the true idea of being, which results in infinite blessings to mortals." With this teaching we come to know about divine Life, Truth and Love. We come to depend only on God, divine Love, who always has met and always meet every human need.

What are you willing to 'leave'? What change of thought is going to be working in you? Only you can answer that. But, if you are willing to do it, you can pick that net back up and use it in a new way, cast it on the right side. Imagine what you can gather in! How do we go about doing this? What steps do we take on a practical level? A good student watches the Teacher. Pay attention to what Jesus says and what he does. Make it your own. Start with the Beatitudes, those right attitudes we can be expressing that lead to blessings and happiness. See how each one applies to your own experience. Understand that you are truly blessed by God. Look for evidence of that around you today. Be grateful. Show by your actions to others that you are not afraid to share the goodness. I'll be writing about that tomorrow...

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