Pastor Linda Settles
I like to go fishing. Well, let me clarify that. I like to go where fishing is going on. I do not like to fish! But I am intrigued by the atmosphere of fishing. Some fishermen (& fisherwomen, but to keep it simple I’ll use fishermen) like to go out very early in the morning, before the sun is fully up. They say that’s the best time to catch fish. Others like to go after dark because they say that’s the best time to catch fish. Maybe they’re all tuckered out by then!
Some fishermen do it for relaxation, some for sport, and some do it for a living. So it was in Luke 5. In biblical times, a fisherman used a net. He would get into his boat and sometimes stay out on the water all night long in order to catch enough fish to provide for his family. It was a simple life, unless there was no catch. To return with an empty net was a lesson in humility and in determination because the next day, they had to do it all again. If the family was to survive, it was dependent upon the catch.
When the fisherman wasn’t out fishing, he spent his time repairing the boat and the nets for the next catch. You see, everything was dependent upon the next catch. Needless to say, the fisherman’s life was one of joy when the catch was good, but one of anxiety and fear when the nets were empty.
But there is a benefit to fishing that goes beyond the catch. It teaches the fisherman to have patience, and to have faith in what the next day would bring. Patience and faith. Virtues that you hear spoken of on the Christian journey as well.
What does it mean to be a fisher of people, as Jesus promised the disciples? Perhaps it will require patience. Just because you cast your net doesn’t mean that fish will jump into it. Or just because you’ve thrown a line out there doesn’t mean that you’ll get a bite. And just because you have invited people to church, or shared your faith with someone, doesn’t mean that they get it. It may be a nice sounding story, and perhaps that worked for you, but they aren’t ready to make that commitment yet.
What is your response when you’ve put yourself out there, laid your emotions on the line, and there’s no response? Crickets… You’ve been inviting your neighbor for 5 years to come to your small group, and you get the smile and thank you, but that’s it. What do you do?
Let your faith kick in. Go back home and repair your net. Fix your line. Sharpen your hook. Pray and regroup. Know that tomorrow is another day and “for God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). So ready yourself and just keep fishing. What starts off as a nibble on your line, or one fish in your net, can lead to a huge haul, a harvest of souls! In fact, when Simon, Andrew, James, and John went into the deep and let down their nets, they caught so much fish that they had to help one another get them onto the boat! It’s a fish story for the ages! That’s why Jesus told them:
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful,
but the laborers are few; 38 therefore ask the Lord
of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Jesus is still looking for fishermen, church! We still need the Lord of the harvest to send us out in order to bring others in. In 2022 people no longer come to church just because the doors are open. But a sincere, heartfelt sharing of the hope and joy of knowing Jesus, now that’s an invitation that is sure to catch!
Join us this Sunday as we continue our final summer series, Fun and Games: Gone Fishing. You can worship in-house at 10:00am (masks optional), or you can also join us online. For online worship go to www.umcgt.org.
Breakthrough Prayer Don’t grow weary in your praying, church! Have you found that you’re remembering some of the Breakthrough Scriptures by now? And maybe some of the Breakthrough Prayer? Perhaps you have some praise reports of where God broke through a situation in your life. If that’s you, we’re planning a time of sharing when we can come together and talk about where we have seen God during this time of Breakthrough Prayer. And remember, there are prayer cards at the Welcome Center if you have personal prayer requests, and the Prayer Room is open before and after worship. And as always, if you would like personal prayer from your pastor, feel free to contact me at 314-324-8405.
Double Your Learning Pleasure! Soon we will have two adult Sunday School classes gathering at 9:00 am. The Friends of Barnabas class is currently meeting. Stay tuned for more details on the start date of the second class. And don’t forget that our Coffee and Conversations small group continues to gather on Thursday evenings. You can get more info on the topic of discussion at www.umcgt.org.
The Word on Wednesday (WOW) is gearing up for the Fall! If you have an idea for a small group (something for moms, or dads, or fishing, or quilting – the sky really is the limit) please don’t be shy! Shoot me an email with your idea (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s come out and have a good time on Wednesdays. Food – Fun – Fellowship, WOW!
Helping our Neighbors Many of our neighbors still need help after the historic flooding in our area. If you would like to help, please see the UM Committee on Relief website: www.umcor.org. There are ways to serve and to give.