Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gone Fishing

I took my family on a vacation (a holiday for those of you outside the US) last week. We went to the beach/coast/shore depending on where you are from and had a great time. My son has gotten on a fishing kick and lately that seems to be all he wants to do. Our week at the beach was no exception. He wanted to fish in the marsh behind the house, and we did, he wanted to fish in the surf, and we did, he wanted to fish from the pier, and we did. We fished in the marsh and had no luck so we went to the surf. Surf fishing proved to be disheartening as well so we tried our luck on the pier. I wish I could say we did much better but we did not. We caught a total of one small shark and one small Whiting the whole week. If we were dependent on our fishing abilities for food we would have starved! As I look back on this I am reminded of what we as Christians are called to do. When Christ called his first disciples he told them to go fishing, not for fish, rather fish for men.

Matthew 4: 18 - 20 - 18As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 20At once they left their nets and followed him.

He did not tell them he would make them pastors or missionaries, although this is technically what they became. He did not tell them they would have to change their clothes, cut their hair or even take a shower! He simply said follow me, and they did. I believe this is want he still calls us to today. As these fishers of men began fishing they had some places where the fish were biting...

Acts 2: 36 - 41- 36"Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." 37When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 38Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call." 40With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." 41Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

and some places where they were not...

Acts 7: 51 - 60 - 51"You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it."54When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56"Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." 57At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.

Regardless of the results we are to continue fishing. If we are successful or persecuted we are to continue fishing. If we are not successful in one area we can try another. If we are not catching anyone at work, try the coffee shop. If we are not successful at the coffee shop, try the bookstore. We must remember it is not about us and how well we communicate or how polished we are in our presentation. Paul reminds us of this in his first letter to the church in Corinth:

I Corinthians 3: 6,7 - 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

Let's get busy doing what it is Christ has called us to do. Let's go fishing.

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