One weekend after church, we took a walkabout in Kaleiçi. As we walked throughout the harbor, I snapped the above photo. It reminded me of a story that bookends the Gospels and is a key story in the progression of our ending up on the field full-time.
The story is of when Jesus called Peter, James and John. In the early part of the Gospel narrative these guys have been out fishing. This was their livelihood. Undoubtedly, they were pretty good at it.
Jesus comes and asks if they can take him in their boat out a little bit from the shore. They agree to do so. Jesus delivers a message. Then he tells them, “Go deep and let your nets down.”
They let Jesus know that they fished all night and didn’t catch anything. I imagine they also told him about how you don’t fish in the daytime. Probably about how they were tired from fishing all night and had agreed to take him out to deliver his message from a better acoustical vantage point in hopes that they would get a little cash out of him. That would certainly help make up for the failed fishing the night before.
But, in the end, they agree to go fishing. In deep water. Where fish aren’t. Because the Rabbi said to.
And they catch fish. Loads of them.
As they return to shore Jesus says, “Follow me. You can catch way more than fish.” They left everything to follow.
For three years.
Peter looks at his two buddies–business partners once again–and says, “I’m going fishing.”
Now, this isn’t a “Hey, it’s Saturday, let’s see if the fish are biting” kind of “Let’s go fishing.” This is a “Hey, the guy we’ve followed around the past three years isn’t hanging out with us anymore, and I have a wife to feed” kind of “Let’s go fishing.”
So, they go. And the first night out they stink. They’re horrible. They head back to shore and see a man standing there.
“No!” They cry. (I imagine a little muttering under their breath here too.)
“Go deeper, throw the nets to the other side, and see what happens.”
Now, these guys aren’t catching on that this has happened once before. So, out they go. Down go the nets and wham 153 fish later they’re headed back to shore.
Until, Peter finally recognizes the Master. And, he jumps in the water and swims back. And says again, “Yea. I’ll follow you.”
And they left the nets, and the boats, and the fish, and followed.