Jesus went down to the seashore and invited some rough, unlearned fishermen to follow Him, and he’d make them ‘fishers of men’. He looked at their nets and the bait in their tackle boxes but beckoned them anyway. Jesus saw people swimming out of their depths in an ocean of confusion. “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself,” (John 12:32 NRSV). The people needed guides: The guides needed preparation.
Our younger son, Chuck, has always loved to fish. As an adult, this interest grew into collecting and selling antique lures. He scavenged around for old, dirty baits which he could repair, clean, and make like new. He has his own collection showcasing on his website store–the favorites that he won’t sell. But for those he will sell E-Bay has become the best outlet for his product.
Chuck lives on Guntersville Lake. One morning he went to the dumpster to dispose of his trash. When he lifted the lid, he saw a tackle box. It was obvious that it had been in the water for a long time before someone threw it into the trash receptacle, thinking the baits were no longer of any account. He took it out and opened the lid. Inside were 22 lures covered with the film of age and abuse.
He patiently cleaned and restored 21 of these lures to like-new condition and immediately got bids on them from buyers on E-Bay.
When he recovered the lures, they looked similar to the side picture. However, number 22 would need more patience and polish. Perhaps this one was found in Peter’s tackle box.
Jesus lived side by side with his disciples for three-and-a-half years, demonstrating the power of the Gospel Story, reshaping the enticements in their tackle boxes: indifference to compassion; hate to love; selfishness to generosity; restrictive law to grace; fear to trust. “A new commandment I give unto you. That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another,” (John 13:34 KJV).
Then He set them loose into the world to witness to hungry seekers with their testimonies. Those ‘outside’ looked on and said, “See how they love one another!” (1 Peter 1:22-23). Not all will be saved, but “whosoever believeth in Him shall have eternal life”, (John 3:16). We can’t predict their outcomes. That is not our task. But the care of the tackle in our boxes is our responsibility.
Lure #22, which we said might have come from Peter’s tackle box, may have been more dirt-encrusted and had more rough edges but it, too, became useful.