|The calling of Peter and Andrew |
by James Tissot, 19th century
Did you ever wonder why Jesus chose fishermen as his disciples? I think one of the reasons is that people who make their living by fishing are very tough, both physically and mentally. Fishing for a livelihood is hard. Fishermen have to be able to withstand all kinds of weather, from searing sunny hot days to dangerous sudden storms. They work with knives, ropes, and hooks, which results in injuries from time to time. They know how to take some pain once in a while.
Fishermen are mentally tough in the sense that they sometimes have days when they do the job, but the fish just aren’t biting. Worse yet, they may have many days in a row when things go that way, days when they get scared because they don’t know how they’re going to feed their children. But fishermen also have days when everything goes right and they come home with a good catch. People who make their living by fishing understand that there are ups and downs in life.
How different that kind of attitude is from today’s supermen of the spirit, who seem to believe that walking the walk is really more like leaping from one mountaintop to the next. How different that is from the kind of folk who believe that when anything goes wrong in their lives, it’s an attack from the devil. How different that is from the kind of person who mopes around when things don’t go his or her way.Sometime after Jesus rose from the dead, Peter and several other disciples went fishing in the Sea of Tiberias. (John 21) They fished through the night but caught nothing. When the morning came, an unfamiliar man on the shore told them to throw their nets on the other side of the boat. It probably didn’t make much sense to them. Still, they were willing to give it a shot. And they caught enough fish to stretch their nets to the limit. Then they had breakfast with the Lord. Ups and downs. Life and the spiritual journey are full of them.