Fishing for Stuff | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
April 2013

Fishing for Stuff

By: Megan Smith

“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”
–Matthew 4:18-22(NIV)

As a little girl, my grandfather used to take my brother and me fishing at a pond near our grandparent’s home. Time and time again, my child-sized fishing rod would pull up algae or scraps of trash, but no fish. Eventually it became more of a game to see what shiny treasure I could pull up next. The initial objective of catching fish was completely undermined by useless scraps pulled on a string out of the murky pond waters. I was distracted by useless stuff—deterred from seeking the real treasure: fish.

Too often, our everyday lives work in a similar way. Too often, we are fishers of stuff. We are fishers of romantic relationships, the most up-to-date technology or fashions. We are fishers of compliments, words of affirmation, and attention. As young people, we are especially quick to dish out $300 for the trendiest clothes of the season and embarrassingly slow to dish out that money towards homeless ministries, families in need, or the underserved within our communities. We are quick to seek and soak up words of praise and slow to offer the same to others.

It is evident that the problem is not that we do not know how to fish or that we don’t fish at all. Indeed, Peter and Andrew were fishing when Jesus called them: “They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen” (Matt. 4:18b). Maybe it’s that we have lost sight of what we are called to fish for. By placing value on the shiny pieces of pond trash, or the hippest trends, or words of praise, the attention of our hearts is focused on those things too.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Matthew 6:21(NIV)

Likewise, by fishing for stuff, we undermine the objective of our existence: to know God and make Him known. By fishing for stuff, we are missing out on the real goods hidden beneath the murky pond waters: brothers and sisters in Christ, disciples, and meaningful relationships.

Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James, and John to begin fishing for people, disciples, and meaningful relationships; immediately they followed. Perhaps if we too were so eager to fulfill our duty as fishermen, we would learn to become fishers for the Kingdom of God—not fishers of shiny, useless, attractive stuff. I think we’ll find that when we stop fishing for the temporal things of this world and start fishing for the eternal treasures of the Kingdom of God, the focus of our hearts will shift as well.

Discussion Questions: Who and what do you fish for? What will it take to refocus our hearts?

See more devotions from Megan and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.