“Evangelizing in the church is like fishing in a bathtub: it’s terribly convenient, but you don’t catch much.” (Dr. Roy Fish)
Evangelism is hard work! It requires dedication and perseverance! Listen to Paul’s commitment and dedication in1 Corinthians 9.20-27.
Stay on task!
“Too many Christians are no longer fishers of [people] but keepers of the aquarium.” (Paul Harvey)
“When Fisherman Don’t Fish” (Max Lucado)
Max Lucado tells the story about going fishing with his dad and friend when he was in high school. It was something Max looked forward to every year.
But one year, in particular, it was tough …
“We arrived late at night, unfolded the camper, and went to bed – dreaming of tomorrow’s day in the sun. But during the night, an unseasonably strong norther blew in. It got cold fast! The wind was so strong that we could barely open the camper door the next morning. The sky was gray. The lake was a mountain range of white-topped waves.
There was no way we could fish in that weather. The next morning it wasn’t the wind that made the door hard to open, it was the ice! It was a long day. It was a long, cold night. When we awoke the next morning to the sound of sleet slapping the canvas, we didn’t even pretend to be cheerful. We were flat-out grumpy. The next day was even colder. "We’re going home" were my father’s first words. No one objected.
I learned a hard lesson that week. Not about fishing, but about people. When those who are called to fish don’t fish, they fight. … [But] When those who are called to fish, fish – they flourish!”
“The greatest sin of the church today is not any sin of commission, or any sin of omission, but the sin of ‘no mission.’” (Unknown)
How to fish …
Mend your nets!
One way of looking at the nets, is to see them as our relationships with people, namely our “neighbors.” In the NT, our neighbor is the person who is near to us. Think about the people Jesus interacted with in his life: lepers, prostitutes, blind beggars, outcasts.
“The first man in history to reach out and voluntarily touch lepers didn’t die of leprosy. He died at the hands of religious leaders who wouldn’t have touched a leper on a bet.” (Jimmy Allen)
Cast your nets!
Simply love your neighbor as yourself. Be in conversation with people, simply to to love them! As you listen to the stories of your "neighbors," and share your story, God will have opportunity to work in your lives inviting you both into God’s story!
Fishers of people must rely on God for the results! (John 21.1-6)
This certainly doesn’t mean that we sit around and do nothing. It means that we must work hard, and trust and know that the results of our labor comes from God alone!
Commercial fisherman in Jesus’ day spent much of their time mending their nets, preparing for the day or night on the water. We, too, must prepare ourselves for the task at hand, and experiencing God’s transformation. It’s the greatest adventure!
I love what Rob Bell says about this kind of adventure:“What we have learned time and time again is that we are students. Learners. Figuring it out. The spirit of God is messy. And that’s not heresy. The Spirit moves in wild and unrestrained ways and demands that we run as fast as we can to keep up. The most dangerous place to be in the universe is the center of God’s will. That is where we want to be. I hope we never think we’ve nailed it. I hope we never believe that we have arrived. I hope it is always dangerous. Always chaotic. Always flying by the seat of our pants. Never settled. Messy. I hope the struggles keep us begging God for guidance. I often hear Christian leaders tell what God has been saying to them in their times of meditation and study and prayer and I’m often amazed. He tells them the most profound, eloquent things. All I seem to ever hear is: ‘Rob, get out of my way.’”
As we go fishing for God and yield ourselves to God’s mission in the world, may God create a spiritual community that only he gets credit for!