|Theme:||Jesus called us to fish for people - 5th Sunday after Epiphany|
|Object:||A rod and reel or some other fishing gear|
|Scripture:||Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will fish for people." So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. Luke 5:10b-11 (TNIV)|
Do you like to go fishing? If someone were to ask me that question, I guess I would have to say, "No." I like to catch fish, but I don't enjoy fishing unless I am catching fish. I have heard some people say that they don't care whether they catch any fish or not -- they just enjoy going fishing. Not me!
I remember one time when I went fishing with my son. He was about the age of some of you boys and girls -- about seven or eight, I guess. We got up early in the morning and went to the lake. We had been fishing for about five minutes when he turned to me and said, "Dad, when are we going to catch something?" After about thirty minutes, he gave up and went to play with some other children. I sat there and fished all day. I never did catch a fish. Now, that is not my idea of a good time!
As I think about that fishing trip, I am reminded of a story in the Bible about some men who had a fishing experience a lot like mine -- until Jesus came along.
One day Jesus was standing by the sea of Galilee. A large crowd of people started to gather around him. He saw some fishermen nearby who were cleaning and mending their nets so he climbed into one of their boats. He asked one of the men whose name was Peter, to put the boat out a little way from the shore. Jesus sat in the boat teaching the people.
When he had finished teaching, Jesus said to Peter, "Put the boat further out into the deep water and let down your nets to catch some fish."
"We've been fishing all night long and haven't caught a thing, but if you say so, we will let down the nets one more time," Peter answered.
An amazing thing happened! When they started pulling the nets up, there were so many fish that the nets began to break. As they pulled the fish into the boat, there were so many fish that the boat was beginning to sink. When Peter and his fellow fishermen saw this, they were astonished and even a bit frightened.
Jesus said, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will fish for people."
The Bible tells us that they pulled their boats up onto the shore, left everything, and followed Jesus. From that day on, Peter and his friends fished for people and brought many into God's kingdom.
Jesus wants you and me to fish for people too. If we will be faithful in telling people about Jesus and his love, we can trust Jesus to bring in the catch!
Dear Jesus, help us to be good fishers for people -- faithful to go, patiently waiting, and tusting you to bring in the catch. Amen.
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