Mike Hansen is a unique individual, something of a hero to me as well as a friend. You might not think it when you first meet him, because he’s humble and unassuming, but the dude is a stud. He’s a graduate of West Point and a combat aviation veteran, and he has a master’s degree from an Ivy League school.
But his first adventures started when he was a kid. Michael recently put it this way in a reflection he posted: “I was raised a third-generation commercial salmon fisherman. Grandfather, father and great uncle all owned and were captains of fishing boats. I learned at a very early age how to lace and mend holes in the net. Drive skiff. Splice. Change hydraulic lines. Purse the net and much more. At 15, I still worked in the ‘partial’ role early in the season, and we had been on consecutive fish openings on the ocean. The weather had been downright nasty. Winds somewhere between 20-25 knots gusting to 35. Swells ranging from 12-15 feet. I
Jesus’ invitation isn’t negotiable.
remember loading the net and watching the wind screaming fiercely as it peeled water off the top of waves and tossed it around aimlessly. Fortunately we had a few days off in between fishing openings to rest. Some crew members would fly back to Seattle during these breaks. But for one guy the weather proved a bit too much. When he didn't return in time as we were casting off the lines to head out for our next opening, my dad quickly glanced at me, nodded his head, and said two words. ‘You're on.’ It was in that brief instant I became a ‘full time’ crew member.”
Peter has a similar experience with Jesus. In Luke’s account, Peter was acquainted with Jesus — probably heard Him teach a few times, hosted Him in his home at least once when Jesus healed his mother-in-law — but was still spending his days fishing for a living. Then something happens, Jesus gives Peter the “you’re on” nod; He says, “From now on, you are full time on the crew fishing for people.”
Notice Peter didn’t ask for the job. He was probably content to drop in for an occasional sermon or healing service, but hey — fishing was his gig. Then Jesus’ invitation changes everything. And while the offer/invitation/command wasn’t a negotiation, Peter did have a choice: Follow, or not.
Y’all, it’s pretty much the same for us, individually and collectively. Jesus’ invitation isn’t negotiable. “Fishing for people” defines what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Being in His boat, following His instructions, learning His ways of loving, living and serving and finding our ultimate identity in Him — this is what it means to be a Christian.
So, are you in His boat?
John Ray is a missionary, spiritual director and the elder responsible for teaching at Grace Church of NWA. John and his wife Jane spend way too much time packing and unpacking, vacuuming dog hair and chasing raccoons off their porch. They much prefer sharing good food and good coffee with friends, reading and trying to keep up with their daughters.