My father is from Minnesota – the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Like many native Minnesotans, he and everybody else from my family fishes. That’s why it should come as no surprise that our latest family get together took place at a small lake.
We all stayed in a big house with a tiny dock. Every day, my children and their cousins fished off the dock in three feet of water. The water was so clear they could see the tiny blue gills as they swam around the baited hooks. Their dads, however, preferred to go out on the boat hunting for markedly larger large mouth bass.
One afternoon, the children were on the dock, when suddenly one yelled, “It’s a monster!” A 21-inch, five-pound bass was swimming among the tiny baitfish. Their fathers sprang into action. We started dropping lures into the water as the children followed Moby Dick in the water.
Then Uncle Tom had an idea. His nine-year-old daughter Grace quickly caught a small blue gill with her pink bobbered pole. Uncle Tom put it on a hook and with the help of the children dropped it in front of the giant bass. The bass sucked the bait into his massive mouth and the battle began. Uncle Tom slowly worked the fish to the dock as I nervously maneuvered the net.
After five chaotic minutes, the children cheered as the trophy fish was brought on shore. “It was a team effort,” Uncle Tom announced with a smile. The bass gasped for air as we all took turns taking pictures with our prized catch. We then set it free to grow for another family of fishermen to catch.
Jesus’ first disciples were from families of fishermen. One day, Jesus stood on the shore and invited them to go fishing with him. “Come follow me,” Jesus told them, “and I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). Jesus was inviting them to be his messengers, making disciples of all nations.
Jesus has also invited you to go fishing. He has called you to be his messenger – to tell others of his love and forgiveness. Sometimes that fishing too is a team effort.
Many years ago, when I lived in Mexico, we held worship services in the patio of a butcher shop. The owner and most of his family were members of the church. His nephew Chago was not. He would usually stay upstairs as we worshiped.
A month before I left Mexico, Chago suffered a kidney infection which required surgery. I went to visit Chago in the hospital. I prayed with him. I told him about God’s love and the forgiveness Jesus won for him on the cross. He didn’t seem too interested in what I was saying.
After I left, though, one of the Mexican pastors followed up with Chago. The pastor continued to share the good news of God’s love with him. His family continued to encourage him to go to church. Two years later, Chago joined the church.
Sometimes fishing is a team effort. You may tell someone about Jesus. You may share with him or her the good news of God’s love and forgiveness, but you may not see any results. That doesn’t mean God isn’t working through your message. To use the Apostle Paul’s metaphor, you have planted a seed. Someone else may water it and see it grow (1 Corinthians 3:6-9).
So don’t give up. Go fishing. Talk about Jesus and his love with everyone you can. Though you may not always see the results, you may be a part of a bigger team God is using to help that person see his love. Sometimes fishing is a team effort.