Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fishers of Men

I have a new friend. She’s envious of what Christians share in the Body of Jesus and she wants what we have. In theory. She’s not so sure she wants the commitments and inconveniences. She’s not at all sure she’s interested in the “denying yourself and taking up your cross” part. For now, it’s enough for me to know she's interested in spiritual things. Fishing takes time and patience.

It's easy to forget what it takes to be a good fisherman. We become militant about issues, loudly debating our beliefs. We spend hours discussing and studying new methods, analyzing how we should be evangelizing. We toss out catchy phrases, startling questions and comments, hoping to hook someone’s heart for Jesus.

If we want to catch fish, don’t we need to have a quiet peaceful setting? Don’t we need to put aside some of the talking and studying, analyzing, the debating?

Dare we simply toss the hook into the waters? Don’t we need to spend time encouraging the fish to eat and letting them know we are a source of food?

My new friend is disillusioned by Christians even while she is envious of their love for one another. She has been told she’s going to hell. She's been given countless books and tracts to read, visited a huge number of denominations and divisions. Decades of searching for truth and praying for peace have yielded her rejection and pain from the very ones who knew of love and mercy.

She is overwhelmed by my love for her, surprised that someone would take the time to meet her where she is and accept her in her sins and doubts. I assure her that I am not rare, that many are busy doing the same things the First Century Church did. I confess our sins and weaknesses, our lack of compassion. I explain that in America it is so easy to talk the talk, to get busy and impatient.

Buddism offered methods that gave her the strength to continue searching for God in a dying world, but it couldn't offer grace. Only Jesus can. Sitting here in the quiet, heart to heart with brothers and sisters who also would love her and meet her where she is, I can share with you that I am sad.

We are called to be fishers of men. Sometimes, all fishing requires is to be still, to sit and share the beauty of God's world with someone, having quiet simple talks away from the noise and fray of the exhausting world.

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