It Can Be Like Work
Growing up, in central Wisconsin, fishing was a routine part of life for me. Our property bordered on a river we frequently fished; and, a great fishing lake was only 15 minutes away. But, when my young bride and I moved to Colorado in 1984, fishing became a frustration for me. Catching Brook Trout in Colorado was a lot more difficult than catching bass and crappies in Wisconsin! It was work! You had to sneak up on them! If they spotted you, on shore, they’d go into a crazy frenzy and stir up all the dirt & sand, at the bottom of the stream, so they couldn’t be seen.
Jesus Calls Us
In Matthew 4:18-22 we see Jesus calling His disciples to Himself; and, because many of them were fishermen by occupation, He uses it as a metaphor when He tells them, “I will make you fish for people.” Now, I’m guessing that, for many of you, the whole topic of evangelism & disciple-making conjures up images of my fishing experience in Colorado—sneaking up on sinners; throwing them a line w/ some kind of “spiritual bait” on it; and, trying to hook ‘em & reel ‘em in! But, with little success to show for it, you’ve given up; you’ve quit fishing for people; and, declared that you must not have the “gift of evangelism.” I feel your pain! I’ve been there!
Jesus Enables Us
But, I thank God; that, in recent years He’s helped me to see the process differently. Making disciples; or, fishing for people, is not about our giftedness or our clever words! It’s Jesus who has all authority over the disciple making process—because of His person; because He is God, He carries with Him all the authority that comes with being God! In the words leading up to His Great Commission to the Church, Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…” Matt. 28:18-20. When we fish for people we go, not in our own wisdom & authority; but, in the authority of God, the Son! And, we depend on the Holy Spirit to go ahead of us & lay the groundwork by “…convicting the world of sin, righteousness and judgment…” John 16:8. The entire process is a spiritual work that Jesus oversees!
What’s The Implication?
Because Jesus has all authority, He sends us by the power of His authority! We have no authority, over the disciple-making process, on our own! We “go” under the umbrella of His authority! Read Luke’s account in ch. 5:4-11 to fill in some of the details Matthew left out—when Jesus told them to cast their nets, Peter said, “…we’ve worked all night & haven’t caught a thing; but, because You told me to I’ll do it…” What happened? They caught so many fish that the nets began to tear! Jesus was teaching Peter—and us—that it’s not about our effort! When doing Jesus’ work it’s about His power & authority!