Who Do You Ask?

If you want to learn how to bake, whom do you ask? Ask a baker. It’s obvious.

If you want to learn how to paint, whom do you ask? Ask a painter. That’s a no-brainer.

If you want to learn how to do wiring and electrical work, whom do you ask? Ask an electrician. Even children know that.

If you want to learn how to fish, whom do you ask? Ask a carpenter, surely!

Perhaps that last answer is not what you expected. I’m thinking of Matthew 4:19 where Jesus, a carpenter, says to some fishermen, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”

These guysalready were fishermen. They’d likely been fishing all their lives. Now here’s this carpenter talking about teaching them how to fish. Sure, he’s a weird guy. Fish for men. Where did he get such a wacky idea? Everyone knows fishermen fish for fish.

Oddly enough, these guys decided to check Jesus out. They followed him. Even though they lacked a formal education and would likely have looked at you funny if you asked them to define “metaphor,” they knew enough to know Jesus wasn’t speaking in a way we’d call literally. They fished with nets. He wasn’t talking about throwing nets over people and hauling them in. He certainly wasn’t talking about capturing people to use as food (that’s why they caught fish, after all).

They followed Jesus. They saw what he did, and learned to do what he did. They also learned to see what he saw: the crowds, harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Their hearts began to break as his heart was broken.

And they learned how to fish from the carpenter.

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