Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fishers of Men

Luke 5 tells the story of Jesus calling some of his disciples from a group of fisherman. He said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Like many people, my image was one of an angler standing beside a trout stream or a lake, slowing casting a line. Down the shore was another fisherman doing the same thing. Occasionally they would exchange pleasantries –“Catching anything?” “No, you?”

But that is not the context here. Jesus is talking to a fishing crew who had just pulled in boatload of fish. When Jesus implied that His followers would be “Fishers of Men,” he was obviously thinking about a crew working together, repairing nets, driving the boat, hauling in the nets, and sorting fish. That is a much different picture than the loan fisherman casting a line with a rod and reel. Unlike a stringer of bass, a boatload of fish is not particularly pretty. There are all sorts of things in the net. A Biblically functioning church will have all sorts of people. Drug addicts, alcoholics, and ex-cons will be sitting next to doctors, lawyers, and teachers.

Not surprisingly, that happens everyday at coffeehouses such as Homer’s, sporting events, and often, the workplace - less often in church and Sunday School.

If we are on a fishing-boat crew, no one person can point to a fish and say that one’s mine. We are all in it together. We’re working together to build one another up, building a better community, and growing “The Kingdom of God.”

Friday, February 02, 2007

Ski Time

Well, it looks like I am not going to make it skiing this year. This is one of the few years out of the past 25 when we have not gone on a ski trip. It is not that I am such a great skier or that I even love it that much. After all, a person isn’t going to get very good at anything doing it just 2 or 3 days a year. I just love everything about skiing.

I love riding in the car across Kansas with my wife. I love the first sighting of the mountains. I love riding the lifts and having lunch on the patio of the Summit House in 20 degree weather. Then later, walking down Main Street in Breckenridge and having dinner at the Whales Tail. Oh sure, the skiing is fun too.

But the overall affect of winter sports, whether it is skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, or snowmobiling, is that it completely changes one’s attitude about winter. When I am loading the car in the parking lot at Sam’s in single-digit weather, it reminds me of unloading boots and skis in the parking lot at Copper Mountain. Walking across the yard in knee-deep snow reminds me of cross-country skiing in Yellowstone. Driving on snow-packed roads is part of the experience, and when this too is associated with something fun, it makes the whole thing more bearable.

Knowing that we have skied all morning in sub-zero weather at Jackson Hole makes going to work at plus-six no big deal. I know for a fact that my car will start at minus thirty five, so I don’t worry about it at zero. I think this is the concept that James was talking about in James 1 when he said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” He goes on to say that the trials make us mature and lead to wisdom. That is how we get stronger.

Now if I can just think of something to like about the heat this summer.