Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
"Nets or Hooks?"
Feb. 16, 2018
Read Mark 1:16-20
Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men."
~ Mark 1:16-17 (ESV)
When I was a child, we would often camp at Kern River in the Sierras and go trout fishing. My family had a garage full of fishing gear. There was a tackle box and rods and reels and strange little jars of bright red salmon eggs for bait. And there were fish hooks: nasty looking things that could go right through a finger if we weren't careful.
The hooks were why I didn't like fishing much. Oh, I liked being out on the rocks and watching the water. And I understood about fish dying so we could eat, and that didn't really bother me. But I didn't want to see some poor fish come up struggling with my hook impaled in its lip. And so I was secretly glad when I never caught anything.
I think a lot of people feel this way about evangelism, too. It seems somehow dishonest to bait a spiritual hook and dangle it in front of someone else's nose, even for a good cause. It doesn't feel open or respectful. Maybe we, too, are glad not to catch anything.
But this isn't the kind of fishing Jesus calls us to do. The men Jesus called didn't mess around with bait or hooks. They were net fishermen. They caught many fish at once, and they did it openly. There was no trickery, and there was no extra unnecessary pain for the fish.
But when they began fishing for people, it was even better -- because these human "fish" were destined for life, not death. These fish would become God's own beloved people, His children -- because the Master Fisherman, Jesus Christ, laid down His own life for their sake. Hooks and bait, pain and suffering? Jesus took it all -- so that we, His catch, might live.
THE PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for catching me to be Your own. Use me to bring others to faith in You. Amen.
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When I was a child, we would often camp at Kern River in the Sierras and go trout fishing.