I Don't Particularly Like to Bait Hooks

Mark 1:14-20 (our text at church tonight) is a familiar passage to most. In it Jesus calls his first disciples: Andrew, Peter, James and John. Two sets of brothers who all made their living netting fish out of the Sea of Galilee. From the passage (and it's parallel in Matthew) comes the familiar phrase, "I will make you fishers of men" (or "I will teach you to fish for people"). It's a nice phrase. Much has been done with it. Maybe too much. If that is our focus of the passage, we have made too much of it.

Pastor Jan pointed out how we're not all fishermen/women. The metaphor only goes so far. Gleaning info from another blog (the author of which I'm forgetting, so I'm sorry I can't point you to the source a little better), Jan noted that if the first disciples had been carpenters, Jesus would have invited them to "follow me and build my Kingdom." If they had been farmers Jesus might have said, "Follow me and sow seeds of Good News." If they had been of some other profession, Jesus would have found an apt analogy for their call to discipleship. Pastor Jan points out that Jesus calls them as they are. He calls us as we are...to be ourselves. That is who He wants. God has only ever created one of us. He needs us to be ourselves that we might each have a unique contribution to His Kingdom.

The other issue I have with how we tend to use the "Follow me and I will make you fishers" line is that we tend to focus on our strengths. Jesus never talks about strengths when He calls people to follow Him. We lived in a leadership-driven world (which is a future blog post in itself); we take strength assessments. We know our spiritual gifts. We learn the top five/seven/ten principles of being a strong leader. But Jesus never calls us to be leaders. He calls us to be followers. And He never tells us to be strong. He tells us that in our weakness, He is strong.

Jesus doesn't call the disciples saying, "Come be leaders and I'll using your fishing skills." Instead He says, "Be my follower, and I'll use what you know to make an impact in areas where you're weak--saving the lost, for instance." As we see the disciples interact with Jesus throughout the Gospels, it's very clear He didn't call them because they were the smartest, brightest, strongest or best that Judea had to offer. They were clearly men with weaknesses. And I believe Jesus called them because of that fact.

As Pastor Jan exhorted tonight--we need to follow Jesus as ourselves...not as the Christian we think we're supposed to be, not hiding our unique characteristics. You may be like me and are still discovering who God made you to be. As you learn to be who you are (and discover who you are), don't hide your weaknesses. Embrace them. Know that through them, Jesus works.

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