As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, has saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew, his brother, casting a net into the sea – for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.”
- Matthew 4:18-19
No conversation. No questions. No hesitation. Just, “Okay,” and they follow.
A few years and a little spiritual maturity later, I assume that Jesus, as he grew into his role as teacher and Savior, spent a few sleepless nights figuring out which of the people around him were best for the tasks of his ministry and that he was looking for just the right set of skills in those people.
So, what was it about Peter and Andrew? What makes these fishermen special? It takes skill to make and mend nets, patience to accept that a small haul is part of a fisherman’s lot, and strength to pull a huge haul over the side of a boat. It takes strong will and steadfast perseverance to catch fish and feed people day by day.
Jesus understood the great metaphors in life and taught with them often, so it is possible that he simply liked the humor of “fishers of men.” (Come on. He has a sense of humor. It is a good play on words.)
I would like to believe that he watched his friends and learned their hearts, planned the parts they would play on his team, what he would have to do in order to develop them, and all of this before he invited them.
Church leaders, staff and lay-persons alike, lament over the lack of volunteers in ministry. We cite society and culture as reasons that our fellow followers bow out of the hard jobs. But have we really done what is necessary? Have we watched people, identified their strengths, and planned for their inclusion in ministry? Or are we just throwing our nets out there, hoping for a good catch?