A few months back, I took my grade school daughters fishing. Granted, I’m not much of a fisherman, but it was almost comical watching them. We baited the hooks with worms and tried a couple places very impatiently. Caught seaweed. Got one of their hooks caught on the other ones shirt. One reel broke and couldn’t be wound up. The other pole was a pink Barbie kids fishing pole. They laughed and screamed. Then, after a few minutes of being excited, they got settled into a quiet area of the lake, threw in their lines and out came fish, one after the next. Between baiting and releasing their fish, there was very little time for me to do anything else, except take a couple quick pictures.
It reminded me of a story.
I once heard a parable about some fishermen who were upstream trying to catch fish. They had all the latest equipment, hip waders, finest lures, proper attire, professional poles, and top notch bait. Unfortunately, in their quiet resolve, they didn’t catch a thing.
Downstream of these professional fishermen were a couple kids splashing at waters edge. They were laughing, making noise, making splashing sounds, smiling and having fun playing around in the water. The fish were swimming all about them in droves.
It’s a simple little story, but it has come to mind on several occasions. What if at times the church tries too hard? What if we rely too heavily on the right tools, the right programs and the right presentations to reach people? Have we tried so hard to become fishers of men that our focus has changed? Have we become too concerned with how we do it?
During the recent New Room Conference I heard one of the speakers say that the church needs to repent of being so self reliant. We need to seek God, trust Him more and walk to walk in step with the Spirit. It’s God spirit that will attract and change people.
This doesn’t negate any strategy and skill in trying do our best as stewards of God’s church. We want to do all we can to advance the Kingdom.
But the kids playing by the waters edge were just living and enjoying life. It may not have been the perfect way to do it, but evidently it was contagious enough to attract fish.
In what ways is your church living life in this way?
Here’s some of the aspects to being fishers of men:
You can’t catch fish unless you go to the water’s edge. You must go where they are.
It’s most fun to have people with you while fishing. There is power in community and catching fish together.
People who catch fish love to tell stories, celebrate, and smile about their experience.
In the theological sense of the word, charisma is about being filled and motivated by the extraordinary graces given to each believer by God to accomplish His good work in the world. This motivation keeps us going.
Our confidence in being good fishermen comes from God. We don’t give up when it doesn’t work; we keep trying.
One of the symbols during the New Room Conference was a huge fishing net. It was used during the weekend as a reminder that we, as God’s people, are connected together and in a sense, we are the net that catches fish.
The church needs to keep being faithful to being fishers of people!