January 25: Teach a Man to Fish

January 25: Mark 1:14-20

"And Jesus said to them, 'follow me and I will make you fish for people.'" 

I imagine that we've all heard the expression "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and you've fed him for a lifetime." In a culture which prides itself on hard work and self-sufficiency, we tend to enjoy this expression in that it reminds us that charity alone won't solve the problem of hunger; we need to give others the means to provide for themselves. 

Have we ever considered how this expression might apply to our spiritual lives? Too often we see church as a place to be nourished spiritually in the moment, and then we move on to the other activities in our lives. But the scriptures are clear that this isn't what God wants for us, because it's not what we need. What we need is to develop practices and skills which lead to true long-term happiness and fulfillment. We need to learn how to spiritually nourish ourselves so that we can be "fed" for a lifetime. Rather than seeing church as a place to take a "spiritual snack" now and then so to speak, we need to see church as a place to learn the disciplines of prayer, reflection, and service, so that we can be truly fed. Let's think together in the coming week about how we can more fully dedicate ourselves to the task of spiritual discipline.