I am uniquely unqualified to talk about this week’s subject (“no change there” I hear you mutter). We are looking at fishing and my track record in this topic is somewhat bleak. For example, I once went to Marion Bay and was told that the fish would be throwing themselves onto the jetty for me. I caught nothing. In fact, the total amount of fish I have ever caught in my life, here and in Scotland, is zero. Fishing, it seems is not my milieu, as the American author Bill Bryson puts it, I am a son of the soil. So when I hear about Peter’s miraculous catch in our reading, it only reminds me of my deficiencies in this area.
As it happens, Peter had a miserable night fishing himself. He’d caught nothing and was cleaning his nets when Jesus commandeers his boat so He can be taken out to sea to preach to a large crowd gathered on the shore. Afterwards, Jesus tells Peter to cast his nets again. Peter does so but only after pointing out he’s already fished there with no success. It must have been galling for an experienced fisherman to be told how to do his job by the son of a carpenter! Yet to his astonishment, he nets a massive catch. He is able to see this as the work of God and on being asked by Jesus to become a fisher of men, he immediately leaves his fishing business to follow Jesus.
Now, even with my limited knowledge of fishing, I know that to catch fish you have to go to where they are, the water. You can have the best fishing equipment, but unless you actually go to the water you won’t ever catch anything. Jesus has called us to follow Him so that we too might catch people for Him. That means going to those we need to catch. I fear that too many churches have wonderful programs and ministries that are designed to suit those already in the church. Now I’m not suggesting we ignore our congregations, but we do have to recognise we are called into the world to show God’s love through how we live. We are in an exciting time as we seek to build a new church that will support our mission; enabling us to go to the hungry and lonely in our community to show them God’s love and care through our ministries. Let’s go fishing together, and with God’s blessing, I might actually catch something this time!