It certainly was not me being my best self. I heard her voice: ‘Rev Matthews, Rev Matthews, Rev Matthews.’  She was of enough distance away to maybe think that I was not able to hear her.  Her ‘I just need 10 minutes of your time on a vital issue’ was always 30  or 40 minutes and never vital, at least not from my perspective.

A voice is heard in my mind: ‘keep walking - run.’   My focus of walking away soon bears out feelings of elation (I escaped) and guilt (should I really listen to her).  I then decided I needed to go and would not  feel guilty….until I felt a tug on my shirt: ‘Rev Matthews, whew! I almost did not catch up to you. God knows, I need you for 10 minutes.’ Well, that was it…GOD KNOWS!  Maybe, what God knew was that I needed to walk faster. In fact, maybe God had yelled to me: ‘Run!’ I was polite but focused: Sorry, I have to go somewhere else. Call me tomorrow and we can speak for five minutes.

I was tired of this person, for I had let down my nets over and over with her and found that she was not interested in catching anything – rather, she was about wasting time and filling in the spaces of boredom in her life…. 

I remember: Jesus said: FISH!   The disciples had wasted the whole night long fishing and for what…empty nets, tired muscles and discouraged minds. Then Jesus yells out to the fishers, after they had finished their fishing: ‘Put your nets down on the other side.’  Maybe some thought: ‘Yeah, right – advice from a carpenter.’ Maybe, if I was with Simon Peter, I would have yelled to him: ‘Run!’  But Jesus surprised them, not with a huge catch (okay, it was a surprise), but with a huge calling: ‘From now on, you will be catching people.’

Maybe, the voice was not saying to me: ‘Run,’ but rather ‘FISH.’

It is normal to feel discouraged by empty nets and dishonest relationships. But, the promise of Fish and authentic growing Christian relationships is something we can let our nets down over and over again and be willing to give up our time…so…… ‘FISH.’

Stephen Matthews