Maybe that’s our problem—we’ve been to too many fish markets.
Seems like when we go fishing for men, we don’t want anything messy. The only ones we look for are the WASPs with nuclear families, unfettered by problems of any sort. That’s where we build our meetinghouses, pass out our meeting announcements, and do our mass mailings. We don’t want people with built-in problems, people overcoming addictions, people with messy family lives, people with “big bad sins” in their history. No one wants a “high maintenance” convert who needs our support, our encouragement, our patience, and certainly not our time! In fact, once a long time ago, Keith was chastised for “bringing the wrong class of people to church.”
To whom did Jesus go? Now all the publicans and sinners were drawing near to him to hear him, Luke 15:1, and I seem to remember a woman who had been married five times and was living with another man, John 4:18. Would we have even given them the time of day?
Jesus only appeals to those who need him, and unfortunately, people who have no “big” problems, no obvious needs, seldom think they need anyone. It usually takes a crisis to wake them up. So why are we so insistent upon turning our efforts to teach the gospel to the very ones who are least likely to listen?
Maybe we no longer want to be fishers of men. The “cleaning” is too messy, too difficult, too heart-wrenching, and too time-consuming. Instead of being fishers of men, as the old saying goes, we just want to be keepers of the aquarium, with a built-in filter (preacher) and someone else to feed the fish (elders and class teachers) so we can swim around in a pretty glass box with plastic mermaids and divers, and live our lives unbothered by things like helping one another grow to spirituality, and scraping the algae off our souls.
Maybe we have forgotten, or never even knew, the mindset of the first century church—a dynamic group of people, spreading God’s word to everyone they met, trying to take as many “fish” as they could to Heaven with them, regardless of how messy their lives were.
Maybe someone needs to come fishing for us again.
And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with the sinners and the publicans, said unto his disciples, “How is it that he eats and drinks with publicans and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “They that are whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners,” Mark 2:16,17.