Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Catch and Release
"Come, follow me...and I will make you fishers of people." -- Mark 1:16-18
Occasionally, my church has a huge book discussion, where we all read the same book, (or like last year when we all read the entire New Testament in 63 days) and then in small groups and Sunday school classes, we discuss what we read. Currently we are doing "The Big Read" by all reading the book Catch by Debi Nixon and Adam Hamilton. It is a very short daily devotional book about invitational Evangelism.
Wait a minute...the word evangelism conjurs up negative thoughts in my head sometimes. Southern-twangy Tele-evangelists and the term "evangelicals" have not exactly had a positive reputation in our culture. I'm not sure I want to be part of something like that.
BUT...if I am a follower of Jesus, which I am, then I need to be concerned about evalgelism because it is what Jesus told us we are to do. The Great Commission: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
I want you to picture a school of fish living in a small murky pond all covered with scum, silt and algea. It is very hard for those fish to live and thrive there because there is so much scum covering the surface that oxygen has trouble getting through. They are choking and their gills are gasping for air...they are dying. That is the world we are living in today...there is so much scum (man-made scum) covering up God's purpose for us on this earth that we are killing ourselves...we are unhappy and gasping for the air that can help us to live and thrive.
Well...some of us have made it out of that murky pond. We were caught and released back into a clean and healthy body of water...living water that saves us. God gave us Jesus...the living water. Those of us that know and love Jesus know that HE is what keeps us from drowning in the murky water. Things aren't always easy in the clean pond...there are still dangers there as well. But, we know that the water around us is clean and pure and if we rely on that water, we will be safe.
Jesus directed us to follow him and he would make us fishers of people...we have the opportunity to catch some fish living in the murky water and release them back into that cool, clean living water that we call home. In fact...that IS our mission in life! We want to share our clean water with others so that they too can live.
Catching fish is not easy...they fight and even though the murky water is killing them...it is home and where they are comfotable. They fear the clean pond because it is different and foreign to them. Saving them is not our job. We are just to catch them...show them how inviting and lovely the clean pond is...GOD will save them and throw them into the clean pond!
This might sound like a very silly analogy, but it is one that has been on my mind lately. I have found myself in murky water many times. I am glad that I have a Father who will throw me back in the clean pond! I want other fish there with me!