April 3 I Sunday
“[Jesus] called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’ ‘No,’ they answered. He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.” —John 21:5-6
How do we go about “fishing for people”? We may have experienced times when we struggle with our service to God and our ministry is not going anywhere, so we try to imitate and replicate success stories that we hear of God’s work.
For example, what we tend to do in the West when we hear of a revival in some part of the world is to send our Christian journalists, photographers and strategists to the scene of the revival. The journalists report what was spoken, the photographers take some pictures and the strategists reduce it to a program or a formula they bring home and go around having seminars on how to have a revival. Another example is when we may hear of a church down the road that God seems to be blessing and growing with people coming to Christ. We take note of what they are doing that we think may be the reason why they are growing, bring it back to our own church and try to reproduce it. There may also be times when we look to the past at a period where we know God worked in a real way, and try to perpetuate that.
Although there is a saying that goes, “imitation is the greatest form of flattery,” when we reduce the process of “fishing for people” to a predictable pattern or program, it no longer requires the initiative of God. We just do it in a way that we have been accustomed to, like the disciples. They were used to catching fish on the left side of the boat, which may have been their method of catching a lot of fish, but when Jesus told them, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat” (John 21:6), they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
We may think following the same pattern is the way God is going to bless us, but it may not be the case. Even though the pattern worked and there are testimonies about how it worked. We cannot afford to imitate what God has done elsewhere. Although it is far easier to repeat the pattern instead of learning what is God doing and where is God working, when we reduce what God does to a pattern and try to reproduce it, it becomes a human activity and ceases to be a work of God. We must allow the Lord Jesus Himself not only to direct us but also to be the origin of how we are to reach and fish for people. May we be sensitive to God’s guidance in the way He wants us to go fishing.
Prayer: Lord God, thank You for being the originator and instigator of drawing people to You. Give me the sensitivity to be mindful of how You want me to go fishing.