New Point Comfort, Virginia

“It’s a great day for fishing!” The fisherman shouted to the lighthouse as his boat moved past.

The lighthouse blinked its predawn flash and answered. “Yes, it should be. But keep me in view in case the weather changes for the worse.”

“You needn’t worry ‘bout me. I’ve been fishing these waters all my life. I know my way around.”

“True, you’re a capable fisherman. I’ve watched you come and go for many years.”

“That you have, old friend. It’s been nice to know you’re there, in case I ever needed you.”

The lighthouse dimmed as the rising sun blazed a path across the sea. “You’re a strong and courageous man, unafraid to take risks. I’ve always been happy to see you return.”

The fisherman waved back to the lighthouse. “I’ll see you later. The fish are waiting!”

Soon the fisherman was engaged in trying to catch the prize fish of the day. Each catch was more exciting than the last, enticing him to hook another, hopefully bigger one the next time. He’d be proud to show off his trophy fish when he got back. The day wore on as the fisherman, engrossed in his pursuit, failed to notice a change in the wind and the dark clouds approaching.

The boat began to sway and rock, knocking the fisherman off balance. Alerted to the declining weather condition, he looked around to get his bearings. Waves splashed over the side as he struggled to get a reading on his compass. Which direction was the land? How far out had he drifted? He could no longer see the lighthouse, but because it was still day, the beacon was not yet lit.

The fisherman used all his strength to maneuver the boat in the waves as he searched for a familiar sight. His impressive catch was soon forgotten as he grappled with survival. Fear prickled his conscience. He was so used to be in control of himself and his circumstances. Yet pride couldn’t help him now. He needed something bigger than himself to get out of the situation.

Closing his eyes, he murmured a prayer, “Lord, I need help. I can’t do this alone.”

When he lifted his gaze, he thought he saw something familiar in the distance. Squinting to see as rain pelted his face, he saw the towering sentinel of the lighthouse appear. “Lord, please get me over there.”

Hope sprang into him, replenishing his strength as he pointed the boat towards  the distant shore. Finally, physically and mentally drained, he reached the  lighthouse.

“Old friend, I’ve never been so happy to see you,” he said.

With dusk approaching, the beacon brightened in response. “I never stopped watching you. Even when you couldn’t see me, I knew where you were. I’m just happy you remembered to look for me.”

“I thought I was lost for sure. But thank God, I found you.”

“And was the fishing good?”

The fisherman grinned. “Fish? They’re not quite as important anymore.”

Fishing was important to Jesus. On several occasions, the Bible mentions that Jesus ate fish, multiplied fish, and even helped catch fish. When Jesus selected fishermen as several of his disciples, he knew the kind of physically strong and determined people they were. But he changed the hearts of these ordinary men so that their focus was no longer on fishing. Instead, they wanted to fulfill their new goal in life – to share the good news of Christ with all people.

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19