And he said, “Follow me and i will make you fishers of men.” (Matt. 4:19, NASB)
Skunked. A friend bought a $10,000 fishing boat and invited me to go with him fishing in the Everglades. I hesitated. When we fished together before, we got skunked. Could fish smell me coming?. But a day in the glades on a boat sounded appealing, so I went along.
All day long we used the same bait, plastic worms. We caught exactly nothing and I never saw my friend again. Should I have changed my deodorant or maybe we should have changed our bait.
Jesus’ invitation to follow Him to fish for new disciples is just as valid today as then. Believers often know the Great Commission by heart, “Go after those fish. They’re hungry for what we have to offer!” (Matt. 28:19, Our paraphrase) So, how’s your fishing? Catch any new disciples lately, or are you being skunked?
Fish bait. We’re experts on Christ’s invitation to fish, but what’s our bait? But you say. “The Lord never told us about bait!” Oh, but he did, repeatedly. We just don’t pay attention to those scriptures and the result is we’re casting lines in the water, saying, “Nice fishy, come and take my sharp, deadly hook.”
“When did he tell us about bait? Repeatedly In John 13:34,35; 15: 12, and 19. He commanded us five times, “Love one another (not your neighbor, but your brother believers) as I have loved you…this is the bait that will give you a big catch. (Our paraphrase) “But we do love one another,” you say.”
Lose Those Plastic Worms. Jesus didn’t mean preaching, teaching and talking love. He wants us to make genuine sacrifices for each other as He sacrificed His life for us. Love one another means demonstrating love by our actions. One sure-fire way is to put divisive doctrines aside. Disagreeing doesn’t mean we have to be disagreeable. We can still be in agreement. Otherwise we’ll get skunked every time and our prayers will be hindered. (See Matt. 5:23,24’ Matt. 18:15, 19,20 and I Peter 3:7 Keep posted on this site in the future for, “Why aren’t we seeing more answers to prayer?)
Expert Fisherman. Early Christians caught a lot of fish. What was their secret? They used the right bait. They were a “love one another” church. They obeyed Jesus by putting differences aside. They gave sacrificially to help each other. They often hung out together, witnessing to their neighbors not just in word, but by deeds and then by words. They let their light shine before others, who saw their good works of love toward one another and gave God glory.
Luke records over and over that they were an “in one accord” church and their neighbors noticed. “They had a great reputation with the people and God gave them many, many fish. (Acts 2:47, Our paraphrase). Today what do our neighbors think about Christians and the Christian church? We are planning a survey to interview unbelievers and ask just that question.
Keep posted for the results and for our next offering: Seven Practical Tips for a Great Catch.
Dear Father, forgive us our divisions and lack of love for the brethren. Help us to find practical ways to demonstrate our love for each other and attract our lost neighbors and friends to us and to Jesus.