I have recently been given a wonderful opportunity to go north to Minnesota and Canada for a fishing trip. I was told to get my gear ready. While I am very excited about the promise of great fishing and wonderful views, getting my gear ready has proven to be a problem. I don’t have gear for that region and for the kind of fish we will be seeking. My gear is all Georgia ready. I could take it with me and use it but it would be an exercise in futility. The line I have is not heavy enough, the hooks I use are too small, and I have the wrong bait. If I want to catch fish on this trip I must change my tackle.
Jesus said that He wanted to make us fishers of people. He wants us to spread the good news about Him so that others can come into His Kingdom and enjoy the eternal benefits that come with knowing Him. Over the years many so called experts have told us how this should be accomplished. In my experience it usually ends up being just one way. This narrow focus has caused us to almost abandon the words evangelism and witness.
I like that Jesus used a fishing analogy. There are many ways to catch fish and the methods can vary in direct proportion to how many different fish there are in the world. This should be true in our evangelism as well. Not everyone is going to be attracted to the same invitation. For some we need to use direct challenge, to others it may be loving acts, kind invitations, servant examples, presence in times of trouble. Just as every lake and every fish require proper gear, so every person requires that we love them enough to know how to reach them well.
I pray that we don’t abandon our fishing for people simply because some old method didn’t work. Let’s get creative and open our eyes to those around us. If we pay attention and show respect, I think that finding the proper bait will become very easy. Happy fishing!