By PASTOR RAUL GRANILLO
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17 NIV)
There are two types of fishermen: those who catch fish and those who don’t. While dumb luck seems to play a part in catching fish, any successful fisherman will tell you that catching fish takes more than throwing your line in the water and sipping on a cold drink. Being successful at catching fish requires strategy, patience and a love of fishing.
Both my oldest brother and my youngest brother love to fish. I enjoy it, but I lack patience. I remember, as a kid, walking with my little brother to Jackson Lake with a tackle box and a couple of poles. We’d set up on the bank of the lake and throw out our lines and then wait for a bite. After about 2 minutes I would get impatient, pull in my line and change baits, or try casting to a different spot.
Not Rico. Rico would watch his line and just wait. It seemed as if every time I pulled my line out, Rico would suddenly get a bite and reel in a fish. Of course, I would quickly get my rigging set up and try to cast exactly where he was and then I’d wait … for about 2 more minutes before I’d reel in to change it up. And like always, while I was reeled in, my mamma’s youngest boy would catch a fish and make me look bad.
To solve this, I decided to start fishing with my older brother, Richard, instead. Richard was a bass fisherman who had an amazing bass boat, 15 rods, a tackle box for every canyon in Navajo Lake, a fish finder, trolling motor and live wells. Surely this is how God intended fishing to be done!
I’d get out my rod, borrow a lure from Richard’s extensive collection, throw it out and slowly reel in the buzz bait; certain that a lunker was just about to bite, … nothing.
So I’d throw it out again, and again, nothing. I’d do this two or three times, then realize that the fish were just not biting on that particular lure so I’d change it for another. In between lures I’d check the fish finder thinking, “There’s just no fish here.”
And then, just like it was some cosmic conspiracy, Richard would have a huge bite and reel in the lunker I never got. Of course, I’d hurry and rig up. I’d try to match his lure exactly and then cast it exactly in the same spot he was at, and then … nothing. So, I’d change it up, only to have my mamma’s oldest boy catch another fish and make me look bad.
Henry Hughes wrote, “Angling, like any art, demands learning and practice, but fish can be uncooperative, requiring anglers to develop the virtues of hope and patience.” (The Art of Angling: Poems about Fishing 17). Jesus knew what He was talking about when He compared the task of the disciples to fishing. Reaching people, and helping lead them down a path to the revelation of truth is difficult.
Rico was patient. He had always been patient when he set his mind on something. Why is it so difficult for us to be patient with others when God has been eternally patient with us? Investing in people so that they might have a sanctified relationship with Jesus requires patience. It requires the refusal to give up on anyone. That is a difficult virtue indeed.
Richard took his fishing serious. He did homework. He studied weather patterns, water temperature, behavior of the fish, and never dropped his boat without having some kind of strategy. Humanity, more to the point, every individual in the world, should be so important to us that we refuse to act haphazardly about reaching them. God is clear that we are not to simply cast seeds to the wind and then pray to God to care for them.
We are to love people enough to learn about who they are. No one should expect to make a positive impact in anyone’s life until they have taken the time to get to know that person intimately. If you are not willing to get to know someone before you try to preach Jesus to them, then you lack the love that is necessary to be Jesus to them in the first place.
Both Rico and Richard love to fish. It shows by the way they approach, and engage in, fishing. It especially shows in their success. How much we love others will be revealed by our approach and our patience. It will be revealed by whether we are willing to invest of our time and energy in another person, or not. The amount of love that we have for others will directly determine how successful we will be at reaching them. Grow in your relationship with God, and your love for others will grow as well.
Take time to go fishing, and don’t take it too hard if your siblings make you look bad in front of mom.
To find out more about La Vista Church, or to hear this and other messages, visit our website at www.lavistanaz.org or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Pastor Raul on Twitter @RaulGranillo007
Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet Sundays at 9 a.m. for Sunday school and 10 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome!