What a feeding fish taught me about evangelizing.
Father! I want to be like this fish!
I was drinking my morning coffee sitting lakeside in Illinois recently when I heard a big splash. I had been sleepily watching the dragonflies when this giant fish jumped into my reality. I love to fish, so I was drawn like a magnet to this fishing haven in my host’s backyard. As I watched this giant fish feeding, jumping occasionally and splashing up into the shallows to get its breakfast, I started to pray:
“Father! I want to be like this fish! I want to eat whatever you give me! I want to be in position to receive whatever it is that you are giving out!”
As I watched this fish fishing for fish I realized that God immediately answered that prayer! He started to show me how we should be evangelizing in this season.
Fish in the fringes: I watched the fish as it cruised around the outside of the lake and up into the shallows where the rocks are to find his meal. I found that very interesting, because typically when I fish, I throw my bait out as far as I can get it, into what I consider the deep water. I don’t normally fish right on the shore line in only inches of water! That to me is counter-intuitive. However, I believe in this season, we should be doing what is counter-intuitive to us, what goes against the grain, and what is not NORMAL for us!
Go fishing in the fringes! Get away from the mainstream. Fish in the “outsiders” culture. Fish in the down-and-out culture. Fish in the lonely and depressed culture. Remember, Jesus gathered disciples to himself that were not other ministers (see John 1:35-51)! They were ordinary people: fishermen, tax collectors and sinners.
“And He said to them, Come after Me [as disciples—letting Me be your Guide], follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!” (Matthew 4:19 AMPC).
Come up out of the deep into the shallows. We are not going to catch “fresh fish” in the deep places of God! We need to come up out of the deep into the shallows. Get out of the church conferences and into the grocery stores. We need to fish in the parking lot at the local, non-spirit filled church. Perhaps join a Bible study where newbies are learning the things of God. Befriend a teenager. Go bowling and go feed others! You can be the bait that someone else sees as a special meal.
Fish eat whatever is presented to them that appears to be food. Whatever we use for bait must be appetizing to them, something that they will eat – hook, line and sinker! We must speak about Jesus in ways that they crave: Love, Caring, Understanding, Healing for their hearts and how to really enjoy life. We can fill in the gaps in their understanding later, when they have received Him into their heart. We cannot approach people like we just sucked on a lemon! We must show Jesus on our faces and in our hearts!
Fish like structure and cover. That is where we need to fish. The babies that God wants to birth into His Kingdom will not be hanging out at conferences. They will be at coffee shops, at the bars, at sporting events, in parking lots and doctor’s offices. In fact, they will be everywhere and anywhere, but especially they will be in your everyday life. That is where we need to go fishing. People want relationship. They want to know how much Jesus (you) cares. They don’t want to know how much you know – at least not yet. They do, however, want, crave and desire love, companionship and friendship. Be that for them. It makes great bait!
As this fish hunted, he actually came up out of the water to catch something above his domain. This really speaks to me! Flying insects don’t swim; swimming fish don’t fly. Yet, somehow, there is a convergence at feeding time where a fish will leave his natural territory, his own domain, to enter into alien space – someplace that he might very well die, just to feed his belly. The insect will never enter into the water to go swimming, but the fish will jump out of it. If we will come up out of the water, jump into an unnatural domain – even at our own peril- we will catch those who will never willingly walk into our territory.
We really need the mentality that some of the people that God is bringing into His Kingdom at this stage of eternity will never enter into His Kingly domain of their own volition. They must be brought in, baited if you will, to enter into the water – even if they are swallowed up like Jonah and later spat out (see Jonah 2:10)! This means that juvenile detention centers, big brothers and sisters, as well as other places where kids hang out are prime targets. What they innocently think of as a basketball game, is really prime fodder for feeding them the things of God.
You are making a splash! When the fish jumped out of the water and the force of gravity drew him back down into it, the weight of the fish created a big splash. I know from having been underwater during a storm that the effects of the storm are limited under water…in fact, they are practically negated. I heard a huge splash, yet the splash that I heard in the natural realm was limited or almost silent in the watery realm of the fish.
Take heart! When you are fishing, you are making a super-huge splash in the heavens, yet the effects may be almost silent here on the earth! Not every person who is evangelized will become a Billy Graham, but most will be gram-mas and gram-pas! The sound that resonates in the heavens is the same. The angels rejoice when one soul is won, when even one heart receives Jesus. God is no respecter of persons (see Acts 10:34)!
The Lord once told me that not everyone is a Mother Teresa. This is a great comfort to me, even today, Praise God! We are all so different that we are different meals for different fish at different times. Your unique personality plus your unique set of circumstances, along with a whole lotta Jesus, creates the ultimate pond to go fishing for fish like a fish!