Maybe it’s a little too early to start thinking about the opening day of summer fishing, but in the middle of winter it might do us some good.

It would do us some good to think about the perfect fishing scene. It’s early in the morning. As you walk out onto the dock, the first grey light of morning is just starting to settle in. Your flashlight guides you to your boat, tied up to the dock and gently bouncing on the glass surface of the water. As you get into your boat, it’s so quiet and still that instead of starting up your motor, you consider paddling with your oars for fear of waking up the lake before it’s time. But there is fishing to do! The engine roars to life and you motor out to a spot only you know about where the fishing is great. When you arrive, the lake is starting to wake up, a blue heron stands on one leg in the shallows of the water, a few splashes farther down the lake might be a beaver or a even a deer getting a drink. The morning mist is starting to rise as the sun breaks over the horizon. You cast your line into the lake.

There’s something very romantic about the perfect day fishing. But the beauty and romance can quickly fade when no matter how hard you try there are no fish to be caught.

Maybe life has come up short for you. Maybe your perfect day fishing has turned into a life where you are relentlessly pursuing fish that are not there, goals that you can never reach, accomplishments and wealth that will never be. Or maybe the perfect day fishing has you totally fooled. You’re so enamored with life, you’re so successful, you’re plans are so blessed that the only thing that does matter is the catch of fish you’ve gotten today and the one you’ll get tomorrow. Or maybe you just don’t know what you’re supposed to be fishing for. Maybe you feel insignificant and without purpose.

We’ve all got these things we want. A house with a yard. A nice family. A good job. We want our children to be well-educated and successful. So we go fishing for these things. But why aren't the spiritual things more important? Becuase if God isn't most important, we can go fishing for a long time and come up empty handed in the end.

Fishing with Jesus can fix all of that. "Jesus said to Simon and Andrew, 'Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.' Immediately they left their nets and followed him." (Mark 1:17-18). Fishing with Jesus nets us the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is nothing more than God’s unending favor toward you through Jesus Christ. It is the message that you have been pardoned for your sins; forgiven for seeking things of this world to satisfy the soul; forgiven for nudging God into second place. The kingdom of God is the message that you are declared not guilty no matter how horrific, terrible or shameful your deeds are. The kingdom of God is knowing that God smiles upon you every day. It is being free from guilt forever. Why? Because Jesus came and purchased that kingdom for you with his blood on the cross. He was pierced for our transgressions. The punishment that was upon him has brought us peace. He was wounded, we are healed.

So leave your nets behind, too, and cast your line with Jesus and see if you don't find a catch of fish greater than you could ever imagine.