“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” (John 15:13-14 NLT)
Did you believe that when you came to Christ, He would make all your dreams come true? That’s actually possible, depending on what your dreams are, but unless pleasing and obeying Him is your dream, you may be disappointed. Dean Inserra wrote: “Christian, God doesn’t have a ‘dream’ for you. God has a command for you. To be part of His mission.”
When I came to the Lord I had very few aspirations. I sometimes wonder what was going through the minds of the early disciples when Jesus invited them to: “Come, follow Me!” That’s essentially the same invitation He extends to us today, and what He has in mind for us, while it may look different in some ways, is still in essence the same – to join Him in His mission to “fish” for men and women, boys and girls.
Fishing, at least for professional fishermen like Peter, Andrew, James, and John, wasn’t sitting on the dock of the bay with a few worms and a fishing pole. They used nets and it was their goal to catch lots of fish at one time. So, how might Jesus’ words have translated for them? Did they envision casting a net over a crowd of people? Probably not, but if Jesus’ “model” was what He was asking them to follow, it would certainly include large crowds.
What was Jesus’ model? How did He go about “fishing for men?” Initially, He touched the lives of individuals secretly. He turned water into wine but didn’t seek to make it known. Only the servants who drew the cup full of wine out of what they knew to be only water knew for sure. Obviously, it became known to a broader audience, but what might that teach us about our mission?
Should we rent a huge stadium and invite people to come and hear us speak about Jesus? I suppose if you’re well known that might work, but not for most of us. For the majority of us following Jesus’ command to “go and make disciples of all the nations…” is much more personal. Although our “world” is becoming much smaller with radio, television, and the internet, we’re still somewhat limited in ways to carry out the desires of our Master.
The Church is God’s idea, and it’s one of the most practical ways we can join our efforts with others to carry out God’s mission. When we begin to understand the implications of what the Church is supposed to do and be, it gives us many more options for exercising our individual gifts and abilities to maximize our efforts to extend God’s eternal Kingdom.
Being a part of a ministry team, a small group, or taking advantage of opportunities to deepen our faith and learn how to share our faith most effectively are just a few advantages of being a part of a healthy church. But that still doesn’t exempt us from sharing our faith with our family, friends, and others with whom we have contact.
When I was pastoring, training others to share their faith was a priority, but even in retirement I want following the commands of the Lord to share my faith to be a priority. How about you? Is your dream to splash in the waters of the Caribbean, follow trails into the mountains or forests of the world, bungy jump off the highest bridge? Or is your dream to learn to win your friends and loved ones to Jesus? Which do you believe will pay the highest dividends in eternity? I hope your dream is to be a “fisher” of lost people.
Food for thought.
Blessings, Ed 😊