Sunday, March 22, 2009

The proof is in the nets

Today’s Reading: John 21:2-3 (NIV)

2 It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Good morning!

My father was a methodical fisherman. He had a method and followed it with no exceptions. It wasn’t easy fishing with him. To Daddy, it was not about kicking back and enjoying a lazy day on the river. He meant business every time he cast his rod and fully expected his catch to be something of great value as he reeled in the line. Daddy never gave up, even if it meant staying in the boat all day long.

It is an interesting thing to compare my father’s fishing expeditions with our meager attempts at personal evangelism. We often launch out into the deep not really expecting a big return for our effort. We’d rather kick back with our feet propped up, enjoying the day, holding a cold refreshment in one hand while pitching the Gospel with the other, and waiting rather impatiently for folks to come to Christ. Is this how it is supposed to work?

John Wesley wouldn’t have said so, and neither did my dad. Our fishing trips were not what I would classify as family fun. Daddy was all business when it came to fishing and he expected nothing less than a full commitment from his team. It probably was not the best exercise in bonding but there was never any doubt of our common purpose. I’ve learned a lot about my father’s level of commitment to the task at hand. He was relentless in his fishing pursuits, and knew if he put forth his very best effort, there was no doubt about the catch we would have that evening at camp.

How does this stack up with our desire to be fishers of men? Are we fully committed to sharing the Gospel, believing that every time we speak His Word, we expect and anticipate a great harvest of souls? Do we spend our daily prayer time begging the Lord to save our family, friends, neighbors and even the people we have not yet met, without truly believing that He can make it happen? How do you approach the task of casting your net upon the water?

On the Sea of Tiberius, the disciples spent all day long fishing, and that evening, they hadn’t caught anything. Do you think their level of expectation and the effort with which they approached their job may have been the reason for all those empty nets?

Lord Jesus, I pray that you will give us your heart’s desire; teach us how to fish for souls. Help us to stand upon Your Word with courage and faith. We claim hearts today in Jesus’ name, knowing you will give the increase when we trust and obey. You alone have the power to change lives, and we offer ourselves as willing servants in the world. We trust you completely for the result, knowing that we will see the proof in the nets.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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