Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Jesus the Depth-Finder!
Our Gospel story for this Sunday, reminds me of the time in which four of us women went fishing with our families. The women were in one boat and the dads were in the other. The deal was that the boat with the team that caught the most fish would not have to clean the fish. In other words, losers get the guts, but no glory!
Both boats went out early evening. For a while no one was catching fish. Suddenly, we women hit a pocket of active small fish, and soon we filled our nets, the pail in the boat, and part of the boat’s floor so that the fish were flapping around our ankles! At the end of our time, we came ashore to claim our prize of having caught the most fish while the dads got the prize of cleaning all the fish! Then our mothers prepared them all and we banqueted together to celebrate our abundant haul of fish!
This Sunday’s Gospel is another “fish story”- and in particular, a story of call, in which Jesus is not only trolling for companions, but seriously out to “hook” members for his “fishing team." He is near the lake, a place of great village activity, and “catches” Simon and his buddies doing what they do best. He climbs into Simon Peter’s boat, asks him to push away from the shore, and does what he does best, - a little teaching to lure them into listening to his message. How do you like Jesus’ assertive skills? At times when we are aware that God is truly “in our boat”, we feel comfortable, secure, everything seems to be going smoothly. But life being what it is, can cause turbulence and rock our boat quite suddenly to make us feel afraid, insecure, wobbly - we may even feel that we might fall out and drown!
Jesus, the carpenter, (who may even have had a hand in building these boats) asks Simon and his gang to stop cleaning their nets and go out again. Jesus says, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Now Simon, a professional fisherman, and a savvy businessman, is a little hesitant, or possibly a tad - or maybe a whole lot skeptical with this request – but somehow is trusting in his depths that this will be worth it. This was their livelihood –yet, this would be a significant financial gamble. They do follow through and soon their nets are filled to the breaking point and the boats are on the verge of sinking. Jesus calls them again, (some of us need repeated callings) but this time with more clarity and intensity - Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” Then we are told that they left everything, father, brothers, boats, business – everything. Yikes – this was pure grace!!
Today, fishing has gone high-tech. Fisher-persons have instruments such as ultrasound-like fish finding gadgets, sonar, GPS, depth finders, and touch screen - hi-resolution 3D fish finders. You can literally see the kind of fish that’s swimming around under your boat, in super clear images and in real time.
After reflecting on this story, I think I'd like to consider Jesus as a “depth finder.” He truly saw the depth within Simon and his friends and knew they would be a great catch for his ministry. They were team people; they were hard workers; they were (no doubt) multilingual, patient, and community oriented. Why not invite them? Why not cast a net of love, empowerment, and challenge around them to move their gifts into the light beyond the boundaries and borders of this village? Beyond what they had always known.
So what is the Good News for us to ponder?
• What is our “boat” that gives us safety, comfort, and possibly “stuckness”?
• Are we willing to search the depths of ourselves within to find our potential?
• What are we willing to let go of to respond to God’s voice in our lives to possibly be a servant leader?
• Are we a person who is willing to step out of our own boat of comfort, control, set attitudes, and patterns of behavior and be about the call to search out the potential in ourselves? In others? - and invite them to find God in their depths as well?
“The person who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore.” Dale Carnegie
“Noah was a brave man to sail in a wooden boat with two termites.”