Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Men with Sole, Net Results

If you couldn't tell from my titles Victor-like puns, the past two weekends really got me curious about fisherman in Jesus' time.  

Here are some interesting thoughts I came across as I researched what life was really like for people like Andrew, James, John and Peter before the Lord called them to follow Him.

  • Contrary to what I have heard over and over again, fishing was not a "poor" profession during that time.  In fact, there are indications that the industry was successful - including the "business" that Peter likely ran.  
  • It is likely that these Apostles had others working for them, as boats often had multiple rowers and net casters.   (Perhaps that is one of the reasons why they did not hesitate to follow Jesus?)
  • The boats they used were around 25-30' long and about 7' wide, and made of wood.
  • Again, contrary to the image of "not intelligent fishermen", these gentlemen had to come up with clever ways to catch fish.  One of the more effective is assumed to be a method where two boats work together with a shared net, and encircle the fish by rowing in opposite directions.  
  • If you are like me, you envision these folks as dedicated, patient, and hard-working, and from all indications, that would be correct.  Fishermen would often go out at night, make numerous runs, and sometimes had to deal with little to no reward on a bad day.  In addition, they had to continuously mend, dry and washing their nets. 

All that being said, one thing really stuck with me this week.  In today's day in age, we often think about a singular fisherman ... casting his line out to sea and catching one fish at a time.  But Jesus called these fishermen ... who worked in teams ... to pull in large amounts of fish at a time.  

I don't know about you, but I am ecstatic if I feel that I inspired one person, let alone a group.  And yet, after reflecting on this passage, I can't help but feel our Lord wants much more - but is reminding us we cannot do it alone, and we must have patience and dedication.

God Bless you.