June 12, 2017

Several of the men of our church put together a men and boys’ fishing contest this past Saturday. We were using this as a fun local church fundraiser for Camp Haven Bible Camp in Ontario Canada, a ministry our church supports. The date had been picked weeks in advance. As the day drew closer, we noticed it looked like the day we picked was in for some extreme weather. Temperatures were going to be in the upper 90s with sustained winds of 25 -35 miles an hour. Nineteen of us were going to be in six boats. Any sane fishermen would wait for another day recognizing these were less than ideal weather conditions, but when you have all the planning and people taking the time off to make sure they can come what is a person to do. We went fishing.

Sometimes as Christians, we are dissuaded from sharing Christ with others because of perceived circumstances. We have all kinds of excuses like, “They really would not be interested”, “Somebody might get offended”, “That person is too far gone”, “I am too shy”, “What if I make a mistake in something I say”, or “I’m afraid.” I know all of these excuses intimately because I have used them myself at different times as reasons not to cast the gospel-line towards somebody. In fact, in getting ready for the tourney, I thought “What would be the odds I would need a gospel tract in my pocket since this is an all church activity, and I am going to be in a boat separated from Joe-public. Why in the world would I even bother to have a tract in my pocket?” But then I thought, “Oh well, what does it hurt to carry a tract in my pocket?” So, I loaded my pocket tackle box with a couple gospel lures.

As we came through one of the narrow channels between the Fairmont chain of lakes there was a dad and son fishing. We were going through the channel slow and he called out to us: “Hey! We are done fishing. Do you want our minnows?” He graciously gave his bait to us and I reached into my pocket and shared with him mine and we both thanked each other for the exchange. Now I do not know if that man will ever read the tract any more than I know when I cast a minnow or a worm into the water if a fish will bite. This much I do know. If we never cast a line by faith into the water we will never catch a fish. What does it take to keep us from fishing? What does it take for us not to tell others about Jesus?

Whether the weather be good, or whether the weather be hot, whatever the weather we will weather the weather, whether we like it or not. In other words, sometimes, if we push against our circumstances we might find good fishing after all. My boat won the tourney with the heaviest stringer of fish totaling 11.41 lbs. It was definitely a day I would not have chosen to go fishing, and I certainly did not think I would get to share Christ in some small way. But, praise God, in spite of the “bad” weather, the fishing was good.

Luke 5:4-6 “…Jesus said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.  And Simon answering said unto him, Master we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.  And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.”

Matthew 4:19 Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Because He Caught Me,

Pastor John Schofield        Let’s go fishing!