Posted by: jamesthethickheaded | July 5, 2009

Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the (Bass) Boat

Spend much time on the water and you’ll learn a thing or two about what those Galilean’s knew. My wife says the first rule is that if you’re on the boat…whatever it is you need… it’ll be on shore. And if you’re on shore… whatever you need will be on the boat. And just to make this game work better… it usually takes about 10 to 20 minutes plus to get from one to the other… at which point it will be come clear you need something else entirely. The second rule is that however long you thought it was gonna take to do something… anything on the water, you’ve underestimated by a factor of at least two and probably more like four. And of course the “you” in this probably ain’t you… as it tends to mean me. So is it any wonder that when the boys finally get back from fishing on the lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1-11), things don’t go like they planned? or that the immediate tendency of the crew is to scatter, to head for the hills, the beer… anywhere but back out “with that guy.” Duh. Sounds like my kids… my dog… anyone with a good excuse.

And maybe here these guys were really planning on a decent breakfast… one of those Waterman’s breakfasts that seem to include about half the farm but oddly enough no fish. Or maybe they’d planned on catching some Zebedees…So when Peter, code name “Simon”, gets asked for a boat ride, yu can bet this one went over well. Whatcha gonna say when the Boss says He wants a boat ride? “Sure! Just what I was thinking…. let’s go back out. But hey, gonna half to watch out for the Coast Guard… so maybe you better put on this Life Preserver…. oh… right… my mistake… forgot about Matt’s swimming test. Just use it as a seat or something.”

Acoustics being what they are on the water… if it’s as still as it can be on a Wisconsin lake where the likes of Buddy Melges used to take his shirt off just to feel the wind come up… you can bet it’d be a perfect place to speak to one of those multitudes…. the “extras” always showing up. The folks just want to be together. But Pete might be forgiven for feeling on the spot, and under the pressure of a very public “ask”, even a little irked as if rebuked for not catching anything. Of course that’s not it at all… the Boss just obviously had more important mission-type things on His mind… like lunch… and this time we’re actually on the water and not in some stinkin’ desert… so no need to multiply a leftover fish stick… He just leans over and says, “Hey Pete… how’sa ’bout you throw the nets over?” Really… it’s low key stuff.

Unfortunately for Pete… had just had my luck with lake fishing. I mean… it’s like lake fish don’t quite get the message like on a normal stream or Bay where the currents make more sense. These skittish little critters literally swim in circles… laughing at whatever you throw at them and move on as if to say, “Yeah, we looked it over… but y’know if you want us… we’re gonna be hanging out over yonder. Ciao!” Half the world could haul these babies out by the bushel as easy as one-two-three… but not today. Nope. Today the boys are picky eaters. And yesterday…  is yesterday. Anyway whatever it is, it ain’t today, and if today they’re just not in the mood for gettin’ caught… that’s all there is.

So of course Pete is not only dealing with rule two and the inevitable demoralization of a crew who’s likely in big trouble with the Powers that Be, their “She’s Who Must Be Obeyed”… but Pet’s also dealing with rule one… I mean the nets aren’t even on the boat. And surely someone’s even calling home, sayin’ “Yeah…I know…I know… You’re right… I know I said I’d only be an hour or two… but you know who couldn’t find fish in a bath tub. And of course he wasn’t gonna let us go home either. Even made one of the boys hang his head over the side and try calling them… yeah it was that bad… like it was Flipper. Yeah. Where do they get these guys? Anyway… I’m on shore… at last… but it’s not lookin’ good. I mean you wouldn’t believe it… we’re finally putting everything away… and the new Division Head’s here… yeah… looks like he wants us to go back out… again.”

Oh… and distracted as ever, Pete’s probably mulling the whole name thing … I mean what’s he gonna put on his new fishing toga? Y’know… the one he’s gonna get from the Galiliee Fishing League when Team Simon catches all the fish they’re about to haul on shore… ’cause like God is on their side.? And how’s he gonna tell the Boss… “‘Y’know…everyone calls me Simon… but you can call me Peter.” Maybe another time? So whenever we hear this story… I’m obviously thinking about all the things packed in there, but usually what we hear about it seems to focus on the fishers of men bit.. which of course it is.

But today, we’re hearing it as the Fathers taught, that we’re supposed to be unafraid to go out into the deep and let down our nets… seeking new depths in the spiritual life. No doubt we’re warned as well in this that there can be plenty of times we’ll come up empty, or come back tired, frustrated, and down right unfocused, and it’s the last thing on earth we want to do.. or even our family wants to let us do… to go back out. But there it’ll lie before us. We might even think all we need’s an equipment change… and like “fixing a net” and we might even be tempted to try some other gospel, some other prayer, some other church or word. But that’s not really going to work is it? I mean that’s not the problem.  Seems the point of the story in this reading is that unless we make sure Christ comes with us… or supposing that He does, unless we trust and follow His word… then we’re just doing this on our own… and our labors will come up empty. But when we throw Him on board, when we take Him where He tells us He wants us to go…then the whole of it tends to be not just fruitful… but easy. Yeah… and it’s hard not to miss that we’re likely gonna do this only AFTER we’ve tried everything else first, right?.Because… that’s what my wife calls rule number three and why I love her.


  1. I would love to see you write a paraphrased Bible, you know, a “Dynamic equivalent” modern english translation. I’d pick it up before the NIV. 🙂

  2. What a great, great paraphrase! Wow! I really could use you in Sunday school or something.

  3. “I would love to see you write a paraphrased Bible”

    ROTFL… No… actually you wouldn’t. You really really wouldn’t. And I’m trusting ROCOR would probably send someone over to make sure I didn’t. “Siberia’s too good for him. Give him the comfy chair!”

  4. NOBODY expects a ROCOR inquisiton!!

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