Saturday, March 5, 2011

Catch and Release

If reality TV had been around back in the first century they would have filmed The Most Dangerous Catch on location at Lake Galilee. Fishermen went out in very small boats on one of the most dangerous lakes of the world. The Sea of Galilee was infamous for fast and furious storms that would whip down from and through the surrounding mountains onto the sea and create incredibly dangerous storms with little warning. This is the location of much of Jesus teaching and where he found a number of his early disciples. When Jesus trained his disciples he chose men from a variety of occupations. Perhaps one of the best-known occupations was a fisherman.

It was by the lakeside that Jesus called at least four of his twelve Disciples. Andrew and his brother Peter as well as James and his brother John were successful fishing captains who upon the invitation of Jesus became close followers of Jesus. It was here that Jesus told them that he would not change their occupation as much as he would redirect their choice of catch from fish to men.

Matthew 4:18-21 (NIV)
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.
19 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."
20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them,

I got to thinking about what usually happens after a catch is landed. Usually it is taken to a market place where it is sold and eventually eaten. But not so when the catch is men, especially when we are dealing with Jesus fishing fleet.

You see Jesus could be considered the very first conservationist because he taught and practiced a “catch and release” program. The goal of Jesus fishermen was to catch men train them to be fishers of men and then release them back into the sea so that they in turn can catch others and continue the process of bringing people into the Kingdom.

It’s kind of a shame that so many of us are so poor at fishing today. Our catch at times is very thin. Perhaps we consider the catch and release process to more of a recreational activity that we can choose whether to participate in or not rather then a responsibility. Maybe we don’t understand the tools necessary to fish although there are any number of actable ways of fishing. But I think the main problem is that we are failing to even fish at all.

So let’s get busy fishing, after all the rewards are eternal!

Pastor Val

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