Reflection on Mark 1.14-20

Jesus said: Follow me and I will make you fish for people.

What do these words mean to you? What images do they conjure up when you hear or read them? We know that Jesus was speaking to the first of those he was calling to be his disciples. We also know that they were fishermen. It is, therefore, fair to assume that the words: I will make you fish for people, must have sounded strange to those whose daily life was spent catching fish to feed family, friends and neighbours. For the majority of us, such words must also sound strange because they are so divorced from the reality of our daily lives. I would suggest that the key that will unlock our true understanding of Jesus’ words lies in just two words: Follow me

For some, the words: I will make you fish for people, bring on feelings of anxiety, even fear. Such people associate the idea of ‘fishing for people’ with approaching strangers and inviting them to discuss matters of faith, or even standing on street corners and shouting about their personal belief. This sort of evangelism is the calling for some, but not for everyone. We are all called to fish for people, in the name of Jesus Christ, but in ways that are gifted to us by God, and not according to someone else’s vision of how we should respond to God’s call.

The key to understanding Jesus’ call to fish for people lies in our understanding of his other words: Follow me. We are certainly called to be evangelists for Christ, but that does not mean that we are all called to spread the Good News in the same way. Yes, some will feel called and empowered to approach strangers and challenge them about matters of faith. But, others will spread the Good News by the ways in which they quietly love and serve in the name of Jesus Christ. We are all given different abilities and skills, it is for us to identify those positive attributes and to use them to the glory of God.

Let us pray that we might not only hear, but respond to Christ’s call to follow him. Let us pray that we might use all that God has bestowed upon us to spread the Good News. Let us pray that we might play our part in sharing the excitement of our faith in order that others might also Follow wherever Christ leads them.