Monday, June 20, 2011
Today’s Topic: Let’s Go Fishing
Today’s Text: Isaiah 45:22 “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”
For several weeks I have had fishing on my mind. It started out as a desire to fish for fish. God has been unrelentingly reminding me that I have been called to fish for men.
Several months ago – in fact it was before Christmas last year – I started a chronological study of the life of Christ and have used it as the basis for a long sermon series in church. Now when I say long sermon series it can be taken two ways, and according to the people of my church both would be accurate. They are long sermons, and it is a long series. In fact, after seven months of preaching we have just now arrived at the stories of Jesus calling his disciples to be fishers of men. At this rate it could be the last sermon series I ever preach. Of course, every sermon could be the last sermon ever preached as we wait for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
The call of the disciples from a life of fishing for fish to a life of fishing for men is monumental. It’s monstrous. It’s motivational. As these fishermen discover more and more about the Messiah from his ministry around them, they are captivated with Him. They are considering investing their lives in His eternal purposes. They have already been called to follow Him, but they had not yet made a permanent commitment. They were balancing their spiritual and their worldly lives, attempting to have both. They would soon learn that the call to follow Jesus isn’t a call that allows us to bring anything with us. It’s a call to complete commitment.
When Jesus issued His call to commitment, He encapsulated in it His purpose for their lives. They would be fishers of men. He did not call them to political or social reform. He called them to one simple objective – spiritual reform. He called them to catch men for the Kingdom of God. He called them to represent the heart of God to people who were lost. He called them to call others to be saved from their sin.
We have digressed from the call. We have become efficient at many commendable spiritual activities but have lost our passion for fishing. The church is missing out on the fullness of God’s blessing because it is ignoring its God-given mission. We as individuals have become really good at balancing our spiritual and worldly lifestyles, but if we would be really honest with God we have tipped the scales in favor of the world. Very little fishing is being done, yet that’s the one thing Jesus called us to do better than anything else.
As I said, I have been overwhelmed with this thought pattern for the last several weeks. I have preached two sermons on it at church. Every day that I wake up I ask God to bring someone into my life that day who needs Jesus so I can talk to them. So far I have not had that opportunity – or maybe because of my agenda I haven’t noticed then people God gave me. Lord, forgive me.
Fishermen don’t catch fish every day. But they do fish constantly, and when they’re not fishing they’re thinking about fishing and planning for the next fishing trip. They check their equipment and make every necessary preparation. Even the things they do that are unrelated to fishing are still seen as a preparation for fishing. Fishing is their passion. It should be ours. If it’s not, something’s wrong with our connection to the heart of God.
For the last several days God has put a question in my mind. It’s my question for fishing, and not meant to be yours. God will give you your own way of fishing if you really want Him to. But maybe it will stimulate you to think about fishing more often as I am doing. I have been trying to figure out a way to ask someone a question to begin a spiritual discussion with them. The response I got from God is bold, and probably won’t work for many of you. But, as D.L. Moody once said, “My method of doing it is better than your method of not doing it.”
Here’s what God has told me to ask people when I have a chance to talk to them personally – “Has anyone ever taken the time to explain to you why Jesus had to die on the cross?”
I’m going fishing today. I’m looking for someone to ask that to. How will you go fishing?