Nothing happens. You don’t even know if there are any fish down there. You cast again. Nothing. You change locations. Still nothing.
Maybe the fish will like another kind of bait better? You change bait. Not a single nibble.
Then, of course, sometimes all you get are nibbles. The fish check out your bait, but none choose to strike. They tease you with their interest, but ultimately you have nothing to show.
What do you do? Do you go home vowing to never fish again? Or do you try again?
Luke tells of Jesus calling Simon Peter when Peter was in the depths of fisherman frustration. He hadn’t caught a thing in his last outing (a serious problem when you make your living at fishing). Jesus told Simon to go out into the deep water and try again.
Simon answered, “We worked hard all night long and caught nothing. But if you say so, I will let down the nets.”
Luke says, “They let them down and caught such a large number of fish that the nets were about to break. So they motioned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came and filled both boats so full of fish that the boats were about to sink. Jesus then called them to become “fishers of men.” He called them to become evangelists (tellers of the good news).
There are a lot of similarities between evangelism and fishing. You can go a long time without a nibble. You never know if the fish are interested or not. Maybe you just need to change bait? The point both in fishing and evangelism is that you just have to keep trying. The point is that all fish get hungry sometime and all people get spiritually hungry sometime. You just need to be available when that time arrives.
How do you evangelize? The main thing is to just be involved with other people. Build relationships with common interests—Pinochle, knitting, computers, whatever. You become friends. There will come a time when it is right to share a word of witness or invite them to church. (We have a Bring a Friend Sunday on October 29—see below.)
Have the same attitude as Peter who fished all night long without results but was willing to cast down the nets one more time because the Lord asked it. He still does.
©2000 C. David Hess