Over the last several years, one of my favorite television shows has been "Deadliest Catch" on The Discovery Channel. The show follows crab fisherman in the Bearing Sea as they venture out to catch king crab and opelio crap while overcoming all of the hurdles that come their way. They face twenty-five foot waves, bad weather, ice, snow, long hours, little sleep and possible death in order to drop "pots" into the sea and come back later hoping that the pots are stuffed with crab.and see what they have caught. Sometimes they come up empty and sometimes they come up filled in crab. The funny thing about the show is that I really do not know why I watch it much less become entranced in it. There is only so much of dropping the pots and retrieving the pots that one would think would be enjoyable. It doesn't matter, I'll sit there watching and hoping that the crew members of the Time Bandit come up big, or worrying about Phil, the captain on the Cornelia Marie--even though I know what happens to him. I'm riveted by the bickering of Sig and his brother, Edgar, on the Northwestern.
There is a more important Deadliest Catch though and one that we should remember on this Holy Week. Jesus gave up His life, just like many fishermen in the Bearing Sea have given up their life but for a more precious catch than crab. He gave up His life to save the souls of human beings. In order to reunite us with Him, Jesus sacrificed Himself. He went through worse torture than the brave men go through up in Alaska. He was scourged, beaten and hung on a tree all so that he could "catch us."
God must feel like a fisherman sometimes. He must have periods of excitement when the "catch" is bountiful and periods of frustration when the pot comes up empty. You see, God can put out the bait, but we still have free will and it's up for us to take the bait and to crawl into that cage in order to be pulled up and to be reunited with him. We can, and quite often do, chose to take the wide path outside the cage instead of the narrow path that leads us inside to salvation.
I might remind you that we are also called to be "fishers of men." We are are called to go out into the world--which can be scarier than the Bearing Sea--and to capture souls and help others to find Jesus. It's not an easy task and it's quite possible that we may have to put our life on the line in order to save souls. The reward is much greater than a boat full of crab.
Hand coloured photographs of 19th-century Japan
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