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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Friday, February 12

Then Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people."
—Luke 5:10

I have never liked the metaphor "fishing for people." In spite of all the rhapsodies about fly fishing being a spiritual experience, "fishing for people" sounds hurtful and manipulative to me. Even acknowledging the fact that in Jesus’ time fishermen used nets, I don't like the image of catching people like fish.

Imagine my surprise, therefore, to learn that the Greek verb used here for "fishing" is translated, "to take alive in the sense of rescuing from death." Now I can relate to that. I can think of people who have rescued me:

  • My friend Lucie, who, years ago, took my two children to her house for the weekend and then left me at a silent retreat that turned my life around and filled me with hope, and new life;
  • Sister Mary Jennings, whom I met at that retreat and who winsomely and wisely led me toward new light and new life;
  • My beloved mentor Bob Watson, who rescued me from more scrapes than I care to mention; who urged me to study theology and who stood beside me at my ordination ceremony years ago;
  • My favorite seminary professor Paul Brown, who saved me from taking myself too seriously and brought alive the gospel imperative to bring justice and mercy to all people.

For all those who "fished" me out of one life and brought me to another, I am deeply grateful. Who are the "fisher" men and women in your life?

Thank you, dear God, for those we name before you who have "rescued" us and brought us to new life. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2007.