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Fishing with a golden fish hook

.... Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.....         [Words of Jesus Christ c. AD 32] Luke 14: 31, 32


The words in bold above are salutary for Jersey. Jersey’s Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers will readily have understood the need to sit down and deliberate before entering into constitutional conflict.


Jersey’s “armed forces” (as it were) are about as strong as its population indicates. With 100,000 residents the “military might” of Jersey is small.


The UK’s population? 62,200,000. The population of the EU? 502,500,000.

Shall Jersey go into battle and fight it out? Much thought is essential.


As part of her Master’s Degree Thesis many years ago, Jersey student Rosemary Carnegie examined the negotiations that led to Jersey obtaining its highly favourable position under the Treaty of Rome when the United Kingdom entered the Common Market in 1971. She concluded that the amazing deal was agreed because it was, at one and the same time, of mega importance to the very small community seeking it and insignificant to the very large one granting it.....


Jersey didn’t go to war.


Caesar Augustus (Roman Emperor 27 BC to 14 AD) adopted the same strategy. His biographer Suetonius records this of him: It was a principle of his that no campaign or battle should ever be fought unless the hope of victory was clearly greater than the fear of defeat; and he would compare those who took great risks in the hope of gaining some small advantage to a man who fishes with a golden hook, though aware that nothing he can catch will be valuable enough to justify its loss.


But Jesus’ advice (see bold above) related to war in a much higher forum.


Jesus emphasised that any king (and we’re all kings in our own lives, aren’t we), would assess the position with regard to his “own strengths” and look soberly at “God’s strengths” (including His essential total holiness). Would he not then “send a delegation” to God “asking for terms of peace”? And would this king not do that “while the other [Almighty God - vastly different than he in power and might] is yet a great way off”?


In fact, to use the analogy of Caesar Augustus, the king’s “hope of victory” over Almighty God is clearly far, far less than his “fear of defeat” by Almighty God. To go to war against God (or to continue to do so) would, in Caesar’s words, amount to going fishing with a golden hook. Who would risk losing a gold fish hook (an ounce of gold is worth £1,076) at St Catherine’s tomorrow morning so as to gain a dogfish worth £1?


But Jesus added, “So therefore, any of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.


What do you make of these final words in their context? The statement seems too clear for me to accept it. Did Jesus really say that a person cannot be a true disciple of Jesus without renouncing “all that he has”?


Here am I – determined (on the advice of both Caesar and Jesus) not to risk losing my gold fish hook to gain a mere dogfish – and I see and hear Jesus telling me to renounce all that I have (including all my gold fish hooks) in order to become his disciple, in order to make peace with Almighty God His Father. What on earth? Why?


To make peace with God one needs to follow Jesus Christ, Son of God. Jesus himself, when he became man, renounced all that he had – and went to a cross for others. He renounced it all. So must his disciples....


Jesus came to earth to show us what Almighty God is like – God the Giver of all creation to mankind, the giver of life to all living things, the giver of total forgiveness to all who turn to Him. He wants me to be like Him, like His Son. He wants me to live. He has “terms of peace” waiting for me through the cross of His Son.

 ‘Let men who delight in the cruelties of war remember that their day is coming.' (William S Plumer, American lawyer, 1802-1880)
‘The seeming peace a sinner has is not from the knowledge of his happiness but the ignorance of his danger.'    (Thomas Watson, preacher and author, 1620-1686)
Richard Syvret

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