May 17 - Net of Fish

Friday, May 17, 2013

Matthew 13:47-50

“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

One of my mother’s favorite phrases when things were bad was “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” I’m guessing things were never as bad as they will be when the bad fish are tossed into a blazing furnace, but she got her point across.  Things were bad.

Dad was quite a fisherman. He loved nothing more than spending time walking the river on our land with a fishing pole, a pail of minnows, a net and a stringer. I remember one night when he came up to the cabin with a huge grin on his face. Rather than a stringer filled with catfish, he had a pail with a snapping turtle in it.  It scared Mom.  She wasn’t comfortable having one of those in the river where the three of us children played, because she knew that if there was one, there would be more.  Dad was fully entertained by the situation and we ended up having turtle soup.

One thing I learned from Dad was how to discern what type of fish were worth keeping once they were on my line. When he took me fishing in Canada, we were fishing for walleye. If we caught a trout, we were ecstatic, but if we caught a northern pike, only the largest and longest would do, otherwise they weren't worth the effort. Anything else went back in the lake, unless I caught a very small perch, then it just became bait.

The world is filled with different perceptions of good and bad, useful and useless.  Jesus’ disciples knew what a net filled with fish would have in it. Some would be worthwhile, others worth nothing.  Like the good crop and the weeds, some would be kept and others would be burned, but until we are poured out of the net onto the ground, we don’t know which is which.  God will make that decision. I plan to be a nice, healthy lake trout.