Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Man Fishing

Jesus said, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." Seems simple enough. Followers of Jesus have been given a clear task: Go fishing to find others who will become followers of Jesus.

Oh my, how we have complicated that call! We have become species specialists, selectively fishing for certain fish. The Sunday morning boat ramps are filled with favoritism. The Bass Boat Baptists hit the boat ramp first. While they are content to leave the Crappie to the Charismatics and the Catfish to the Catholics, they are divided even among themselves over how to fish for bass, selective about which bass is worth catching, and suspicious about other fishermen who are more successful.

Some want to bed fish and yank those sinners right out of bed on Sunday morning. Others want to finesse fish and lure them in without them realizing they're caught until it's too late. Still others are looking only for "keeper fish." They go after the big fish. Oh, they don't mind catching an average fish, but they eventually toss it back and forget about it. Let them land a lunker and they'll parade that catch in front of everyone! It'll even make the "Baptist Mess-O-Fish-enger" paper. They are quite proud of their trophy fish.

It is dangerous to get the Bass Boat Baptists together for too long. It won't be long before they'll divide up amongst themselves arguing over everything from which bait is better to which species of bass is better. The topwater lovers will cluster and preach against the crank baiters. The largemouth crowd will speak derisively about the smallmouth. Before long, another new club will be formed.

To make matters worse, the Bass Boat Baptists won't share a boat ramp with Pontoon Presbyterians because they have more than fish in their coolers and the Canoeing Church of Christs won't even use the same boat ramp as any of the others because they don't believe in motors.

It is puzzling to observe such behavior. The call of Jesus seems simple enough. Yet, instead of fishing, much of our time is spent maintaining and polishing our boats, admiring our gear, bragging about last year's catch, fussing over favorite fishing holes, fuming at another boat because they took one of our fish, and taking classes on everything from better knot-tying to what color boat cover to use.

The craziest behavior of all takes place away from the water. In alarming numbers, fishermen sit cross-armed at the boat ramp or on the bank or in their driveways with their boats still on the trailer, wondering why the fish won't jump out of the water and flop toward them! It's as if they expect the fish to jump in their boats and baptize themselves in their livewells!

Jesus didn't call us to fish for men for the pleasure of fishing, but for the importance of the men. It's not about our pleasure. It's about His passion. We've made fishing for men too much about the act of fishing and not enough about the lost condition of man. Jesus doesn't care what your boat looks like or whether you use the same spinner bait as Peter. Jesus isn't judging you by how many fish you catch or how big they are. He just wants you to fish.

If we'll do the fishing, He'll do the catching.

Oh, and by the way, Jesus doesn't practice catch and release. Why should we?

Hooked on Jesus,
Perry Crisp

PS: The reason I am being harder on the Baptists than the others is because I are* one.
*(Intentional use of poor grammar)

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