Wisdom Loves to Fish
By Jack Frederick
Fishing is not easy. If you don’t love to fish then fishing is often not fun. It’s only fun when the fish are biting and when you’re catching fish if you don’t love to fish. I never knew anyone who loved to fish like my friend Wyndham. Many times we drove at 4 am to Gloucester (MA) to fish from the jetty, a long rock wall fabricated from very large blocks of stone as a barrier to protect boats from sea waves.
We often took our sons Steven and Sam. Wyndham and Steven love fishing. Jack and Sam liked to go fishing when the fish were biting. By sunrise Jack would lie sleeping on the huge rocks in the warm sun while Wyndham and Steven fished. Sam would entertain himself catching starfish with his bare hands in the shallow water.
Jesus promised his followers he would make them fishers of men. Many of them had been fishermen by trade; they probably liked fishing when they caught fish since they could sell the fish and earn a living. Some, or at least Simon Peter, demonstrated my ‘like for fishing’ that day when Jesus was teaching by the shore. When Jesus asked Simon (Peter) to put out to catch some fish Peter grumbled, “we been fishin’ all night and haven’t caught a thing”….but if you say so we will go fishing. They caught so many fish their nets began to break and the boats began to sink. (Luke 5:1-11)
Wyndham is that kind of fisherman…when others have been fishing all day and caught nothing he can walk up and begin catching fish. Lots of fish. Big fish. I don’t know how it works, I just like to go fishing with him…I catch fish, too.
Wyndham is a fisher of men like Jesus. He is good at that, too. I always liked fishing for men with him. I learned from him how to fish for men the way Jesus said we would. We caught lots of fish, big fish and little fish. Sometimes the nets got full, sometimes we had to call off our weekly Bible Talks where we invited visitors to come and learn because we had so many people studying the bible to learn about Jesus that we didn’t have time for Bible Talks. Besides, that’s why you have Bible Talks, so you can invite people to come and learn more about God.
Jesus knew Peter and his friends were fishermen. He knew they caught fish, at least sometimes. But he knew they needed to learn to love to fish so he showed them how. And in so doing Jesus promised to teach them how to fish for people. These “unschooled, ordinary men” (Acts 4:13) learned from Jesus how to fish for men, how to be good at it, and how to be effective at fishing for men. They learned to love fishing for men.
Not sure I ever learned to love fishing, but I learned from my friend Wyndham to love fishing for men. I learned the value God placed on the men and women we taught to know God. I learned to be good at fishing, effective at fishing because God so values each person we help. The overwhelming reason I love fishing is because I feel such deep gratitude for the salvation God gave me through knowing him and his son Jesus whom he sent (John 17:3).
The world desperately needs to know God. People face so many hardships and troubles. We read about them all the time in the news. We see politicians and leaders decry the pain, and scramble to identify what they think causes problems in our society. Some things are evident, but at the heart of all this hardship is our need to know God and how he wants us to live.
We need more fishermen who understand, more fishermen with the courage to turn the world upside down. Whether we are “unschooled and ordinary” or well educated it doesn’t matter, we just need fishermen with faith so that God can work powerfully in their lives to help others. We need fishermen who love to fish, fishermen who love the people they are fishing for…fishing to rescue from the darkness of this life.
I wasn’t born loving to fish, I had to be taught…and I had to be willing to learn. The world is crying out for help. The people around you are crying out for help. You may think otherwise if you live in a ‘religious place’ as I do. In that case pray for God to open your eyes to the need and to the harvest which is ripe on every corner. The question is not how well or how willing you are to speak, the question is…are you willing to learn to love others as much as Jesus did? He said, “By this will everyone will know you are my disciples, because you love one another” (John 13:35).