4 W Seminary St - Liberty, Indiana
Edwards Memorial United Methodist Church
During my teen-aged years, my best friend and I used to fish the Whitewater River between State Road 38 and Richmond. One day, several miles down the river, in a wide-open hole we saw the biggest bass we had ever seen. He was so large that when he swam to the shallow end of the hole to feed, his back would rise up out of the river. Just to look at him made our hearts jump out of our chests. We had to have him.
And so catching that fish became our passion, our obsession, our one and only thought, our reason for living. We even named him.
Even the mention of his name would set our adrenalin to flowing. Yet try as we might, we never were able to catch that fish. In fact, we were never even able to get him to bite. We offered him every artificial bait our meager finances would allow. We baited our hooks with nightcrawlers, with hellgrammites, with soft crawls, with chicken liver, grasshoppers, crickets, leaches… if it moved hopped crawled or jumped, we drug it past Big Wally.
And then one day, we figured it out.
He could see us. In the dark, he could feel us. There was no way to get to him without him knowing that we were there. And no matter what kind of bait we offered, all that fish could see… was us.
My encounter with Big Wally reminds me that, as good disciples we must always seek to present people, not with ourselves, but with Christ. Our aim must not be to show people our faces, but Christ's face. As with John the Baptist, our goal must be to decrease, and for Christ to increase. Only then will the bait be taken. Only then can a lost soul be won for Christ.
And once God has used us, once we have been rewarded as disciples, once a person has been caught for the cause of Christ, we must know what to do with our catch. Surely we must nurture them, and feed them, and show them the way unto Him. But perhaps the most important lesson we must learn is in what to do next. We must learn to fish as God Fishes.
For as in our creation, the element of free choice must be maintained. As God used the Catch and Release Method, so must we. Once caught and shown the way, a person must be left to choose their own path. Some will stay in the home pond, yet some will tragically swim back to sea. Still, it is the only way. And find comfort in this, never forget that there is always a master fisherman in search of those who swim away, and he has a special kind of bait...a bait called…grace.
Friends, July has arrived, and with July comes fishing. I hope that this Pastor’s Page has made you a better fisherperson, provided you with some new bait and some new techniques to present. And I pray that each of us will answer Christ's, when he says, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men."
Can you imagine having a personal invitation to go fishing with Jesus the Christ?
Let's go fishin'!
He's Coming Back!
JULY 1st, 2018