One of my friends in CT shared a story with me last night and I was touched by what I saw as Jesus making her a fisher of people. I think that becoming a fisher of people is clouded by our modern day concept of line fishing. One throws out a line, with a hook and some bait in hopes of "catching" a fish. And we get tripped up by finding the right bait, the right fishing technique or the right method of fishing so we can catch fish.
But what if becoming a fisher had less to do with technique and more to do with following Jesus and becoming that which he is already making us. Jesus said, "follow me and I will make you a fisher of men." Back to the story my friend was telling.
My friend was outside shoveling snow when she and her neighbor talked briefly about his need to go to the laundromat. Wondering why he did not have his own washing machine and dryer, she asked him about why. Her nieghbor just said, "we are struggling." This led to a sense of compassion and a remembering of him during the next Sunday service. Her Covenant church had been hosting Angel Food, an organization that sells food at about half the price. They work through local churches and community organizations who host food drops. Anyone desiring to purchase food through Angel Food could order a box containing food they would use for about half of retail price.
She picked up a brochure and stuffed it in her pocket.
Another Connecticut snow storm hit and once again she was out shoveling her walk. Again, she met her neighbor and remembered that "he was struggling." She gave him the brochure and order form and shared a little about Angel Food.
I couldn't help but think about how these events came about because one human being met another and a natural incident occurred. It was not voyeristic or technical nor were there tactics to "catch" another human being or lure them. What I saw was a simple response of compassion and an invitation to something that could help.
The whole story smacks of following Jesus. Jesus was out in the community responding to the needs that were before him. His followers followed him around and were invited to participate in what he was doing. And he sought to do the good... heal the sick, feed the hungry, liberate the oppressed, and give sight to the blind.
Maybe it really isn't that hard... "follow me and I will make you fishers of men." (people).
I think that perhaps Jesus is casting the net and inviting people to join his community. But he is doing it by calling us to follow him and let him make of us fishers who partner with him. And while we are fish captured by his love... we begin to respond like him toward others who will also begin to know that same love at the hand of a follower.