“And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,'” (Matthew 4:19, ESV).
From the first day that Carl came to class, Sandy made it her project to draw him out. With tattoos, a bandanna and refusal to make eye contact or respond to any stimuli at all, he was the classic lost kid at school.
But Sandy was a good teacher, one of those who took pride in reaching all of her charges. She had taught troubled kids before, but Carl was a special challenge. With both parents jailed for drug possession and living with a grandmother, he was angry, hurt and defiant.
Each day he would enter the classroom, take possession of the back corner seat, and instantly go to sleep, his head buried in his arms.
She cajoled and threatened. One day she stood right in front of his inert form at the back of the room and taught the class from there. She visited his home. His grandmother was not there, and he refused to answer the door. How could she reach him?
Like a fisherman trying lure after lure, she felt for a vulnerability. How could a kid care so little about himself? What could make him snap his head up and take notice?
The breakthrough came late in the second semester, when she found out he had a big brother in the Army. The day Carl sat up and noticed was the day his half brother David walked into the classroom in full dress uniform, and spoke to the class about his profession.
Carl sat up, wide-eyed as a walleye, and from that moment Sandy knew she had him.
She had finally caught her fish.
“Fishing for men” was the term Jesus used for reaching people, lost people, helpless, alone. Fishing is a delicate art, not at all like throwing dynamite into the water. It takes time and patience, skill and care.
And every human being is worth it.

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