Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Mind Full of Empty Nets


On the shore of the Sea of Galilee,
which I remember from Capernaum,
He borrowed a boat from Simon.
A little way from the beach, He taught them.
The day I visited was calm,
and it was a pleasant place to sit.

I wonder what it was
that made Him turn His attention to fishing after He taught.
Maybe He saw Simon distracted,
politely letting Him use his boat,
and moving it to where He requested,
but his mind full of his empty nets,
of the day getting away from him,
of the tired disappointment of the night's labor.
Maybe he wondered what his wife would say about there being no fish.
I've got things to do.

Maybe, when Jesus was finished saying eternal things,
He cared that Simon was obsessed with the temporal,
and wanted to help him see.
He didn't rebuke him for inattention,
or shame him for impatience.
He did something in the temporal
that shocked Simon into seeing the eternal.

Let's catch some fish, Simon.
Still polite, Simon obliged Him,
even though he knew his business better, he thought.
And now his nets were breaking;
his boat nearly sinking;
his partners' boat nearly sinking.
In the face of this blessing, he was afraid.
It brought him to his knees,
and in mind of his sins.

"Please leave me -- I'm too much of a sinner to be around You!"
And Jesus, now the center of these working men's attention,
as He had not been before,
said, "Don't be afraid! You'll catch men, now."
And these fishermen,
these entrepreneurs,
these distracted margin-listeners --
left it all and followed Him.

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