So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. (Luke 5:1-2)

In the business of fishing, the nets must be consistently washed and mended.

Recently reading this story in Scripture, I breezed over the seemingly unimportant details. I focused on Jesus’ call to be “fishers of men” as it pertains to reaching and winning unbelievers to the Gospel. But this time, God’s Spirit slowed me down. The biblical study notes provided great insight to what I previously ignored. The nets needed washing and mending to remove things gathered in the net other than edible fish.

Mind you, I’m not a fisherman and I don’t really like eating fish. But this story and insight shed new light on an old story. I started imagining all sorts of things that could be caught in ancient cast nets on the Sea of Galilee. Seaweed, pieces of wood, shoreline rubbish, reeds, fish too small or unsafe to eat, turtles, snakes, rusty hooks, sunken debris. Many things attach themselves to fishing nets. Some of these things may also tear the nets. So the nets need to be cleaned and mended periodically.

Fishers of Men

As “fishers of men,” we must also clean and mend our nets. Being “in the world but not of the world,” unclean, unsafe, and unnecessary things attach themselves to us. Some get attached inadvertently, others we intentionally toss into our own nets—or worse, into the nets of our fellow fishermen. Worry, gossip, personal advancement, doubt, political agendas, social issues, unsolicited opinions, “cares of this life”—things of zero eternal value or significance. We tear our own nets and spend valuable time on our Enemy’s subtle distractions. Sometimes we pull up an old shoe or piece of driftwood, then spend precious time trying to make something from them instead of tossing them back and focusing on fish.

“Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). We need consistent washing and mending to keep our fish-gathering methods efficient and optimal. The Holy Spirit’s cleansing helps to differentiate what to keep and what to discard. His mending helps us “bear much fruit.”

Successful fishermen focus on fishing, catching fish, releasing everything else, and consistent washing and mending of the nets. Here’s to a huge catch!

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