Photo by Jed Owen on Unsplash

The memory remains vivid to this day. I crouched by the water, gulping the humid summer air. In my right hand, I held a sharp blade. The left secured my struggling victim. From behind, five pairs of eyes bored into the back of my skull. How, I wondered, had things come to this? It had all seemed so pleasant and innocuous at the start. Suddenly, I found myself with life in one hand and death in the other.

Do not worry, gentle reader. I have a license to kill. Of course, I am talking about fish. The memory I relate is of my first-ever effort to fillet bluegill caught by my five sons from the dock of our Minnesota home. It was an unsettling experience, though in retrospect it taught me something about my life as a Christian. Jesus called his followers to be fishers of men. We can understand this better if we consider what it takes to be a fisher of fish.

I did not grow up fishing. My natal family loved hiking and camping, but we generally left flora and fauna undisturbed. When my husband’s job brought me to Minnesota, I noticed that fishing was popular here. Our house gradually filled with boys, and I found myself watching with interest as a neighbor and his two boys hitched up their boat for an afternoon. I knew that my fishing dreams would have to wait because toddlers and hooks don’t mix. Still, I hoped that our turn would eventually come.

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