I am not a fisherman. My In-laws are laughing at that statement because it’s true and because they are fishermen and women.
But my 7-year old son loves to fish and so today, he made a bold proclamation that got me into the fishing business. “I can bait the hook and I can take the fish off myself, Daddy.”
That’s all that I had asked him to do, so off we went to the pond in Faurot Park, to do some fishing.
Nathan was in heaven releasing his line over the pond on a perfect 80 degree day as I stood out of range from the hook that he kept casting and re-casting. It seemed like smooth sailing for the fish-loving son, and the fish-dreading father.
Then trouble came.
First, there were no fish coming up out of the water on his hook. Nathan had a few bites, but coming off of a weekend where he was fishing in a well-stocked, rarely-fished pond with his Papaw, a lack of a catch frustrated him quickly.
Then on one unsuccessful cast, his line hooked onto a protective netting around the pond. He was fiddling with his pole, trying everything he could to get the line free, but the hook was set in and the handle spun off the pole.
Being the avid fisherman that I am, I pulled out my house key to cut the line (who goes fishing with a knife or pliers?). Then i put a new hook on (I was proud of myself for that), but had no idea how to re-attach the handle to the fishing pole so our first solo fishing trip came to a close in about 25 minutes.
Defeated, I told him we tried.
He responded amidst the tears, “Our fishing trip was a bust.”
By the time we drove the 6 minutes it took to get home he was fine, and my handy-wife, Leah, figured out how to put the pole back together. We will fish another day. But, I learned a lot.
Fishing is hard when you’ve never done it before.
I wonder if that’s how the disciples felt when Jesus invited them to become ‘Fishers of Men.” (Matthew 4:19)
They had been fishing for fish for so long, that I bet they didn’t remember what it was like to not know how. I wonder if they jumped right in, thinking fishing for men would be just as easy? We know it wasn’t. We see how many times they struggled and failed. But, they had a couple of traits that made them great fishers of fish and, eventually, even better fishers of men.
1. They had a teacher who knew how to fish.
2. They had the desire to do what the teacher asked.
Do you want to fish? Do you have someone to teach you how? Jesus is our ultimate guide but we also need people in our lives to help train us and prepare us to fish. I can help connect you with someone if that’s your desire and you need a guide.
After all, I don’t want you to end up like me. It’s really hard to fish, when you don’t know what you’re doing.