Many of us are familiar with fishing, whether in a home pond, a local lake, or even deep-sea fishing. When you go fishing, if you keep any of the fish to eat – somebody has to clean the fish. We typically consider that to be less “fun” than catching them. In the New Testament, Jesus often compared the art of sharing the Gospel to fishing. He called His disciples “fishers of men.” I recently was reading an inspirational book that talked about how we tend to do in Christian ministry much as we do when we go fishing.
Our churches and us Christians get it that we are supposed to spread the Gospel and win people to Jesus. That is the fishing part – we are supposed to also be fishers of men. We also seem to sense responsibility to clean the fish – to insure that anyone called “Christian” lives by the set of rules that we think are right.
The author of the book makes the statement that in reality, our job is to catch the fish, and God’s job is to clean the fish. That was eye-opening for me. How often do we fret and stress over trying to get someone else to live the way we think they should? Then how often do we judge them, avoid them, etc. because they don’t live by our dictates? How we live comes out of our hearts, and only God can change the heart. If instead of judging and badgering, we sit back and pray and then show love and support in our actions, we might see more people willing to come to church versus avoid “all of those hypocrites” – church would be a place of warmth and acceptance. This happens in other gatherings in life – we tend to go where we are received, accepted, and befriended.
Afterall, didn’t Jesus accept us and offer to clean us up after somebody caught us for the kingdom?