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Just Plain Caught

Sunlight twinkled on the water. Brandon squinted his eyes and lowered his cap without loosening his grip on his fishing pole. Here and there the surface of the lake rippled in circles from the nose or fin of a fish, but none of them seemed to be very hungry—yet.

Brandon whispered to his father, “I put the biggest, juiciest worm on my hook that I could find. I don’t know why they aren’t biting.”

“It does seem strange,” his father answered as he cast in a new line. “We don’t have much time left before dark. I hope we get a nibble soon.”

Brandon yawned and blinked. But look—was his bobber swaying against the ripples? Yes—it was. He clenched his fingers around his pole with all his might. And the bobber disappeared under the water!

“I got one! I got one!” he yelled as he yanked the line up.

“It’s a beauty, Brandon!” his father admired his catch.

The unfortunate perch flopped on the pier while Brandon attempted to remove the hook.

“This is like the story about Peter,” Brandon said. “You know—when Jesus helped him catch all those fish. We have to be fishers of men, like Peter.”

“Well,” Father paused, “It’s not quite like that.”

“What do you mean?” Brandon asked.

“It’s very true that we must be fishers of men, as Jesus said. But he didn’t tell Peter, or us, to fish in this way—with bait and hook. He told Peter to cast his net in the deep water. Then all those fish swam into the net and were caught. It was a miracle. There was no bait. There were no offers the fish had to take. They were just plain caught—and Jesus made it happen. Fishing with a net is the Reformed way to fish.”

Brandon dropped their lone catch in a bucket of water. “Should we try using a net next time we fish?” he asked.

“No,” Father grinned, “for these kinds of fish we’ll stick with hooks and worms. But we shouldn’t forget that—” he pulled up his empty line, “Jesus commanded Peter to use a net.”