James, John, and Simon. The three musketeers. They had known each other since childhood. Simon loved to hang around the docks, and as boys Zebedee would take them all out on the lake to learn how to fish. They had loved the feeling on being on the water, the smells, the breeze, it was all so perfect. So, it’s no big surprise that they went into business together. They worked together to repair their nets, tend to the boats, clean the fish, take it to the market, keeping enough for their families. The fishing business didn’t come with a lot of prestige, but they knew what they were about. At least, they thought they did. Until that one bad fishing day when everything changed. They had worked all night long and had caught nothing. They were about to call it a day, and they noticed a large crowd approaching. All these people were following a teacher, Jesus, and they were all pushing and straining to get closer to hear what he was saying.
As the approached the lake, Jesus sat down in Simon’s boat, and asked him to just go a little bit away from shore. There Jesus taught the crowds from the boat. I wonder if as he was teaching, Simon was starting to feel something. The thoughts running through his head, admiration, inspiration, swirling around as he considered how he might want to take part in whatever mission this guy was on. When Jesus had concluded his lecture or sermon or whatever it was, Jesus asked Simon to go into the deeper water and let down the nets again. Simon was tired, his body ached from a night of failed attempts to catch anything. Yet, something about Jesus made him less certain about everything he thought he knew. So he let down the nets, and WHAT A CATCH!
James and John had to bring the other boat out, and both boats were so full of fish that they were about to sink! Simon couldn’t believe it, and yet he did. In his heart, things were changing. James and John felt it too. When they got to shore with their now dirty nets, boats filled with fish, all begging for attention, James, John, and Simon got up and walked away. Jesus calmed their fears, and invited them into this new adventure of catching people. They didn’t pause long enough to conduct a cost/benefit analysis. They didn’t measure the risk or even worry about what their family might say. They simply dropped everything and followed. They could feel a sense of calling and purpose. They heard a call that was probably a little terrifying, but also exhilarating, as they were chosen to be a part of this thing. P