Fishermen are some of the most secretive people I have ever known. The craft of the trade is designed by some of the most imaginative people. Secret weapons including: special knots, monofilament, brass spoons, painted spoons, flashers, flies, hoochie coochie’s, live worms, scent permeated plastic worms, marshmallows, jigs, fish eggs, live bait, and filleted herring cut just so and attached to a hook in such a way that it gives the characteristic movement of a needle fish to attract the fish - are just some of the “secret weapons” or tools of the trade. These and others which would challenge most people’s imaginations are kept secret. Spoon buckets and gearboxes are carefully covered and sometimes even padlocked when in harbor or in port. Everybody knows who the “highliners” (most successful fisherman) are and while in harbor or in port visits are made with eyes searching for clues as to the reason for such success. Fisherman who are good friends often make a pact to help one another to be even more successful. They share code words on the marine radio phone giving information about how well or how poorly they are doing and where they are located so their friends can come to the same area and share in the success of the catch. The dynamics of the fishing industry and those involved in it are more amazing than most people give credit. My dad was one of those guys.
Why all this to do about something seemingly as simple or complex as commercial fishing? Because a fisherman learns by experience and being mentored by someone who is really good at it before he can develop into someone who can consistently make a good living for his family.
Peter, James, and John were expert fisherman in their day. They would be classified as the highliners in their part of Galilee. The envying eyes of the other fisherman were on them as they sold their fish and mended their nets. Coming up with the “secret weapons” of the day was one of their main focuses. Yet when they encounter Jesus and saw all the things that he did and the amazing things that he taught, they must’ve been totally blown away. When he called them to come and follow Him, they simply left it all and followed after Him. He didn’t hide anything and yet taught in unique ways (parables) which were usually understood by those who are actually seeking for truth and was confounding to those who were not. They spent 3 1/2 years with him learning the tools of the trade, so to speak. This resulted in a total character reinvention for nearly all of the disciples. John, one of the sons of thunder, became one of the most peaceful, loving, and caring of the disciples. His message recorded in the Gospel of John, the three epistles of John, and in the book of Revelation communicate a picture of the humility and majesty of Jesus that only one that had a close transforming relationship with Jesus could share. These disciple’s lives, under the influence of Jesus, were so changed that even the Sanhedrin, when questioning them, had to admit that these unlearned men “…had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
Jesus is calling you and me to walk with him, allowing ourselves to be influenced by the stories of the Bible and the miraculous spirit-lead victories that happen in our lives today. As the Holy Spirit leads us, as Jesus led John, we will experience a total transformation in our characters. I invite you to launch out into the deep with us this year as we walk with Jesus, dialogue with Him about the tough things we are dealing with, discovering God's eternal truths through the WORD, and share the exciting results happening in our lives and our church with those around us.
Truly this gospel of the kingdom must be shared with our loved ones, our friends, our church family, and our community because we know that Jesus is coming soon. It worked for Peter, James, and John. They were literally transformed from rough, tough, cursing, swaggering fishermen into fishers of men – dependable gospel workers. I believe it can work with you and me as well. God is able to bring about change in our lives as we are willing to surrender our everything to him.
I would like to challenge you to join me in this unique, intentional “Walking with Jesus – 2021 Challenge.”
Lord God of heaven and earth, through the example of the disciples, and John in particular, we can readily see how he became a new man and an unstoppable witness for You. Speak to our hearts today and help us to realize that this was not just a miracle of days gone by, but that You faithfully promise to do the same thing in our lives as we also “Walk” with You. Help us now as we enter into this “Walking with Jesus” journey. In Jesus name, amen.