It's getting to be that time of year. And I'm getting excited. I don't know why. I'm horrible at catching fish. I come home empty handed more times than not. I'm told part of it has to do with location; I'm not hitting the right spots, etc. But I know a large part has to do with poor skills.
But that's ok. I love to go fishing anyway. I love being outside in the morning, looking out over a lake or river. Tossing out that line and trying to get some poor unsuspecting fish's attention. When that doesn't work, I go through the tackle box, looking for that right lure. And when that line does jerk, oh what a joy! But I enjoy whether the line jerks or not.
Good results or not, I love to go fishing. What does the bumper sticker say? A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work, or something like that. Not that I don't like work. Some would say, in fact, that my "work" is a lot like fishing.
In fact, Jesus said that. "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Of course, the problem is that too many people hear that and they think of the kind of thing I just described. Standing on the bank, tossing out a line, hoping something will bite. And if they don't, well then just look into your box of tricks and find something else. Do whatever you can to get the attention of the "fish." But that's not what Jesus had in mind.
I wrote a post a few years back that got quite a bit of attention. Basically it was this same idea. I suggested that Jesus probably never held a fishing pole like we think of. His idea of fishing was a bit different. It was more, go out in the boat to where the fish are and toss the nets and trust God to fill 'em. That's more of what my "work" is like.
I don't want to toss out lures and gimmicks to try and bring the "fish" in. I want to go out and spread the net of the Gospel and trust God to fill the nets as He sees fit. It's not about the "lures". I'm sure I could think of all sorts of tricks and treats to get folks in the door of our church. But that's not what the Gospel is all about. It's about spreading the Gospel and leaving the results to God.
Some would say that I'm about as successful at this kind of fishing as the other. And it's true that our church isn't just growing by leaps and bounds. You'd think that after 10 years we would have made a bit more progress. But I'm more concerned with making disciples than drawing a crowd; more concerned with Gospel truth that gimmicks and gadgets; more concerned with God working among us that manipulating the emotions of the masses.
And in the end, there is joy in the process regardless of the results. Sure we're overjoyed when folks come to Christ, just like when you get that jerk on your line. But there's also joy simply in the faithful, daily work of the ministry, going as God directs, letting Him do as He sees fit. I'm just along for the ride anyway. So I'll just enjoy the trip. Regardless of the outcome, I just love fishing.