I’ve always struggled with this reading, and the call to the first disciples to become ‘catchers of people.’ The ‘people’ bit I get, of course. Everyone I’ve ever spoken to about call to ministry in the church sees it as a ‘people’ thing. Ministry that is not about getting alongside people in their walk through life is not going to get very far, in my view.
But what about the ‘catching’ thing? It sounds very ‘off message’ in a world where personal choice is seen as just about the biggest deal there is. If catching people comes close to ‘catching them out’, or putting them into some kind of captivity, then it doesn’t sound very much like Good News to me.
But what if we see catching as closer in meaning to the word ‘captivating’? What if the disciples are being invited to be part of a proclamation of God’s Kingdom that seeks to captivate the heart and soul of humankind? I would seek out something that had the potential to captivate me. That sounds more like Good News.
Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going ona little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.