When our family went camping, they had a volunteer fly fisherman from Cabela’s come and teach all of us city slickers how to bait, cast, and reel. Our son Nathan had fished several times with his Grandpa and knew exactly what to do. Despite all of his knowledge and experience with fishing, he never actually caught any fish. In fact, he never even got a nibble. You know why? He was very interested in casting. But the sitting and waiting part…well that was a different story. He came up with all sorts of strategies to cast farther and faster. To cast higher. To cast in new fishing spots that he thought might yield a better return. He practiced several different stances as he cast his line to see how effective his slight variations might prove to be. While it was very entertaining to watch, it yielded very little return as far as fish go.
We do this in our churches. We want to throw out our bait hoping people will get hooked on Jesus. We try all sorts of new tricks and stances. We applaud at our ability to use technology to cast farther and higher and faster. And we cast and cast and cast. But just like my son, we have very little patience when it comes to sitting and waiting. We don’t want to sit idly by and depend upon the Holy Spirit to move. We want to exhaust every tip and angle we can think of and keep casting. Surely the fish will come, won’t they?
I think when Jesus told his fishermen disciples that He would make them fishers of men, He told them that for a reason. They already knew how to fish. They knew all the important components of fishing. They had a system and a strategy for catching fish and they stuck with it. As far as the “catching men” part, well that was a different story. Jesus taught them how to do that. He just shared life. All of it. He wept in moments of grief, got angry at injustice and greed, got frustrated by others’ lack of belief, and laughed, shared meals, listened, asked questions, and told stories. And then He allowed the Holy Spirit to work. “Whoever has ears, let him hear….”. For some of us who have spent countless hours casting, maybe it’s time to sit down on a rock and to “be still and know that He is God“. For those of us who are still too afraid to touch the wiggly worm and put some bait on the line: it’s now or never. Eternity won’t wait.
What are some practical ways you depend upon the Holy Spirit as a fisher of men?
Please be brave enough to share your ideas, there are still plenty of fish in the sea.