(a Steve Orr scripture reflection)
We were at lunch when we had one of those bizarre conversations that I am convinced only guys can have. It was strange, shocking, and repugnant all at the same time.
One of the guys told a story about how he had been sitting on the dock and using a SIG Sauer handgun to shoot into his pond. The next thing he knew, there were about a dozen perch floating around the point where the bullet entered the water.
"Oh, don't worry,” the tale-teller said. “They were just stunned by the concussive force. In a few minutes, they woke up and swam away."
Another guy said, "Too bad you can't really fish that way. You could just scoop them out with your hand."
That’s when the conversation spiraled off into an even more bizarre discussion about various weapons that might be used to “catch” fish.
In a completely different way, this week's Mark passage shows Jesus doing some extraordinary fishing, too—much nicer, but still shocking. In the space of a few minutes, Jesus scooped up Peter and Andrew, and then James and John; the first third of his central disciple group. He offered these four fishers of fish the training to become fishers of people. Something about that offer made them willing to just stop what they were doing and walk away from the lives they had known.
Think about it. That’s shocking.
I have long puzzled over that. Just exactly how do we fish for people? The idea, strange as it sounds, so resonated with those Galilean fishermen, and was so intriguing, they left behind their very livelihood to follow Jesus. I know I am only one of millions who have given this much consideration, and I know there are many answers out there.
I would suggest we go to scripture to find our best answer. Those Galileans knew who and what they were: fishermen. We, too, know who and what we are—and, as they likely were, we are clear on how God should best use us. Yet, God continues to call us to do different—to be different. It can be confusing, even frustrating.
If that confusion and frustration feels familiar, then this week’s Psalm 62 passage is for you. The Psalmist has wrestled with this seeming disconnect and found an answer—and a refuge. Whom we belong to matters. If we recognize the one whose image and inscription we bear, it will also impact what we might become.
Do you sometimes feel you're like one of those stunned fish, just floating on the surface of life’s pond? If we are willing, we can shake off that paralysis, be like those first people Jesus called, Those four Galilean fishers of fish likely knew that psalm—and to whom they belonged. It’s certain something in them recognized the call to become more than they had imagined themselves to be.
And they followed.