Wednesday, December 29, 2010
No Fishing With Nets
We had some unusually warm weather for the end of December today. So nice that a thaw was visible as the cold made way for the warmer tempatures. It may be only a temporary peek at the coming release from the winter cold, but it is a great reminder that though the days are cold and dreary, yet soon the spring will reappear and we will be liberated from the icy chill.
I sit in my car during lunch often, many times in the same spot. Today this sign posted beside the pond caught my attention. It said 'No Fishing With Nets'. I had probably saw this sign dozens of times before and paid no particular attention. Today, this sign's words seemed to capture my heart.
The warm weather had begun to thaw things out. The ice was breaking on the pond. Somehow my heart too was thawing after an overly long period of icy coldness. Months had past without a prayer, without a desire to hear the Gospel preached, without a desire to worship and praise God with my church family. Never has there been such a long, cold, spiritual freeze in my life. There did not even seem to be an ember in my heart for the Savior or the Gospel. Prayer! Glorious commune with the Father. Joy at the sermon on my car radio. And guilt and sadness over the lost time with God and the joy that I missed while my heart was frozen. God thawed my cold heart. Christ still loves me. Joy is still found in the Gospel.
Now, what about the sign? In the depths of my own spiritual deep freeze, the joy had gone out of my heart and my desire to tell others of the wonderful saving work of Christ was lost. I had not cast a net into the water to fish for the soul of another for so long now. But cast the net I must do. It is my Savior's command. It is my privilege. It's time to take the sign down and throw out the nets. Fishing for men. The gospel is the net and the duty to work and serve is ours. Tell men and women everywhere of God's love for sinners and the Grace and mercy that is found in Jesus Christ.
(1) On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret,
(2) and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.
(3) Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
(4) And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."
(5) And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets."
(6) And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking.
(7) They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
(8) But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord."
(9) For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken,
(10) and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men."
(11) And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.