Keaton Smith – Gilbert High School Pastor
Imagine for a minute that you and I are on a beautiful lake fishing in a boat. The weather is perfect, the air is crisp, and fish are jumping all around us. Now, in this particular story, you’ve never fished in your life, so you’re hoping to get some good tips and instruction on the basics. You grab your pole, and with eager anticipation ask, “Okay, I’m ready! What now?”
With your pole in your hand, I gently say, “Oh no no… you’ve got this all wrong. I have a much better technique —- put your pole away, you won’t be needing that.”
“I thought we were fishing today?” you ask.
With a beaming smile, I proceed to show you a much better technique. I then grab my bait box…take off the lid… and place it in the middle of the boat. “Just you wait… the fish are going to LOVE this stuff. They’ll be jumping in the boat in droves!”
But no fish jump in the boat.
That’s okay. I have an even better idea. I grab a black marker, a piece of cardboard and begin writing, “HEY FISH! GREAT FOOD IN BOAT. JUMP IN.” Still, no fish jump in the boat. You’d think I was crazy— and I would be. Nobody in their right mind would ever think to catch fish like that. Or would they?
When Jesus called some of His disciples while they were fishing along the shore He said,
“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19
Truth is, we’ve been called to be “fishers” of men, yet often times we fish in the way I described above. We open our box of bait, make a really sweet sign, and expect the fish to simply jump into our boat. I don’t know what your symbolic “Box of bait” or “Pretty sign” is, but I know this — nobody who is far from Christ is going to leave their comfortable environment, crawl into your boat, and die for your box and sign.
You have to get OUT of your boat and IN to their environment.
For me personally, church can be my boat, and the services can be my bait. It’s super easy to simply sit with my people that I know, and just expect that others are going to jump into relationship with Jesus. That’s convicting for myself, and it should be for a lot of us. Church is good. The services are good. But those all mean nothing if intentional community and pursuing relationships with new visitors is absent.
This weekend, let’s get out of our boat. Challenge your family to say hello to 2 people you’ve never met before and ask them to share their story with you. Invite them into relationship and community — it’s scary being new and alone.
Can you imagine how Central would be impacted if everyone got out of their boat?