When I was twelve years old and living in rural Iowa I got into fishing. I had a fishing pole and some basic tackle. I would ride my bike to a local farmer’s pond and fish for large mouth bass. While I was not reeling in one fish after another, I did catch enough to keep me interested.
One day my mother offered to drive me to a farmer’s pond. She wanted to fish but all I had was a bamboo pole besides my fancy fishing equipment. No problem for her. At the pond she put a worm on the hook attached to the line of the bamboo pole. She found an outcropping into the pond and stood there with her pre-historic fishing gear.
It wasn’t long before my mother began catching fish. One after another she hauled them in. Meanwhile I was still trying to get a nibble. By the time we decided to leave my mother caught over a half-dozen large mouth bass and a few sun fish. I had caught nothing. I gave up fishing that day.
When Jesus called the disciples he instructs them to “Come, follow me” and then says “I’ll show you how to fish for people” (Mark 1:17 CEB). The NRSV says “I will make you fish for people.” The NIV says, “I will send you out to fish for people.”
I like the translation of the Common English Bible because we know over the next few years this is exactly what Jesus is going to do with these men and women. He will teach them the good news of God in word and deed. Approaching the gospel of Mark with this understanding, let’s learn how we can fish for people.