Growing up as a child I would imagine that I was like most kids. I did a lot of fun stuff that we all do at that age. Things that now in looking back reflect a time of innocence that more often than not I find myself thinking how cool it would be to go back to those times.
One thing in particular that I remember is spending time with my uncles and my grandfather. Several of my uncles as well as my grandfather had a passion for fishing. It seemed that as soon as we met up the first thing they would talk about was going fishing. Being at a young age I did not have any experience with fishing. I was eager to jump right into it. I can recall saying to my uncle in particular let’s go what are we waiting for! My uncle responded by saying slow down we have to be prepared to go fishing; that the very process of fishing itself was not something to be rushed into.
We spent it would seem countless minutes getting prepared. We of course had the poles and bait. Again I thought that we were good to go. But I will always remember that one part of our preparation that both my uncles as well as my grandfather emphasized. They mentioned that one of the most important things about fishing was having the right type of shoes to go fishing. I have never forgotten the phrase that they would use over and over again. “As a fisherman you have to have the right type of shoes.”
In my Christian journey with the advancement of age has come a greater sense of appreciation of those things that are from the past that often times come back around in the present to reveal a different meaning. The Shoes of a Fisherman. As I went forth with my uncles and grandfather on those days of fishing they always made it a point to have on the proper pair of shoes. Shoes they would say that lead the way to where it was they were headed. Shoes that would provide protection for the areas that they went in. Shoes that would give them what was needed to be successful .
The story of Jesus’s conversation with his disciples comes to mind for me. Matthew 4:19 speaks of Jesus saying to his disciples to come follow him, and he will make them fishers of men. This was of course a tall assignment. Here were the disciples, ordinary men at best being called by Jesus himself to follow him. I have to imagine that the disciples had to think to themselves that this was something way beyond them. After all who were they to follow behind Jesus himself. Following in the shoes of the fisherman. Not just any fisherman; but the fisherman.
Just as it was for the disciples then it is the same for us today. We are tasked with the mission of following in the shoes of the fisherman. That fisherman being of course Jesus himself. What then would we do? How then do we move forward? I find myself thinking that the first thing that comes to mind when we choose to walk in the shoes of Jesus is to be sure that the shoes we would wear are those that are of the right fit. We cannot be of service to anyone nor can we be of help if the shoes that we wear in our mission to follow Jesus are not the right fit.
The right fit for each of us is not going to be the same. For some it may be shoes fit for serving others in mission fields. Perhaps for others it will be shoes fit for being that person who encourages others and speaks into the lives of those whom they come in contact with. And for some the shoes that they are fitted for may be for them that person who prays for others and are called to be that prayer partner for many.
The shoes that we will wear on our road of commission will for each of us, regardless of what our particular calling may be, need to be shoes that will provide us with protection. During this Christian walk we will encounter many different challenges as well as temptations. There will be those times no matter who we are or where we are in our journey on this road of life whereby we are going to experience those times when the enemy will throw one fiery dart after the other at us. The enemy that we will come face to face with will do whatever it takes to stop us from fulfilling our mission and staying on course.
But during these times when we are a target that is when the shoes that we are wearing must be cloaked in the full armor of God. It is then that we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that we will continue to press on knowing the God’s armor is our shield and protector. And finally the shoes that will wear will indeed lead us on a path of success if we remain vigilant in our assigned duty. Ours will be a success not based on what the world may qualify it as, nor what others may define our success as. But as we remain faithful to that which God calls us to do then it is by his standard and his alone that our mission and purpose will be declared as a success.
The Shoes of the Fisherman. Doubtless they are indeed large shoes to fill. But for those of us who step up to the plate and say here I am Lord send me, we will do so knowing that as we follow in the shoes of the fisherman, we do so steeped in the heartfelt assurance that we are doing the will of our Lord and Savior and we will do so to the best of our abilities, and in doing so we give God the glory.
To God Be the Glory
Alan T. Black