Fine Fisher Of People
Think Like A Fish, Live Like A Fish And Go For The Fish
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
In the film A River Runs Through It, Paul Maclean casts his line and hooks up with a monster trout. The great fish it streaks down the river like a lightning bolt—its sheer size threatens to sever the fishing line. Paul saves his line by jumping into the river and is swept downstream. The monster fish is not willing to get reeled in without a fight. And Paul is just as determined to fight this fish tooth and nail. He finally brings the fish to the bank, holds it up by the gills and smiles to his father and brother Norman.
“Oh me, oh my! Look at that fish! Unbelievable!” says Paul’s father.
His brother Norman defined the striking epiphany to himself, “At that moment I knew surely and clearly...that I was witnessing perfection.”
“You are a fine fisherman,” his father says.
“I’m pretty good with a rod,” Paul said, “but I need three more years before I can think like a fish.”
Fishing for people, like catching fish, calls for a very similar strategy. Like Paul, you have to think like a fish. Yet it’s one thing to think like a fish, it’s another to live like a fish. Once you know how live like a fish, you can certainly understand its train of thought—its habits along with its appetite.
Long ago, God decided that He wanted to fish for men and women. For the most part, He had been reaching out and communicating to humankind through handpicked people that He gifted to speak His language—His Word. He called them from all walks of life. He chose Abraham, a transient nomad, Moses, a wanted fugitive, Joshua, a military commander, Ezra, a scribal priest, David, a shepherd king, and even Jeremiah, a young prophet. These men were to be His designated go-betweens—His mouthpiece relaying truth about Himself, His creatures, and the world that he created.
Yet time and again, the results were not only frustrating, but also disastrous. His people would willingly receive His divine instructions, reinterpret its’ meaning for their lives, and move forward in the opposite direction. God’s Word would get lost in human translation. How could God get His meaning into their thick and stubborn skulls and make it stick? When will these people learn to stop doing what is good in their own eyes? Who will they listen you?
To remedy their ‘failure to communicate’ once and for all, God hatched a plan. In order to carry a conversation with a fish, one has got to become a fish. In order to carry a conversation with humankind, one has to become human. So God decided that if the human skin fits, he would wear it. He did in fact do, what no one expected Him to do—to live like a human being. God gladly took on mortal flesh and lived among us. In the process, He grew up like a human, hurt like a human, hungered like a human, and most importantly talked like a human being. The Creator could actually carry a conversation with His creatures. He understood their thoughts and knew what was in their hearts.
God chose to live a life that was up close and personal. The way humans thought was nowhere near how God thought. So God brought His high and holy truth to a level where it was made accessible to all people. He taught them in parables and revealed its hidden meaning. He opened their eyes and ears to the good news of His coming kingdom. He freed the tormented souls, healed the sick, gave sight to blind, and even raised the dead. He taught them how to pray to Him in an intimate and meaningful way. But above all else, He offered them a genuine relationship that goes unmatched this side of heaven.
Oftentimes I’ve been asked, “How can we minister to people that are lost?” “How can we know where they hurt?” How do to treat the pain of the brokenhearted?” “How can we give shattered lives a hope against all hope?” “How can we help them make sense of their wounded world?”
If the Creator humbled Himself and drew near by becoming human, we who are called by God are empowered by His Spirit to do what He does best—reach out and relate to other lost human beings in love. When you choose to spend time with another person, you can’t help but notice things that you’ve never noticed before. As the level of trust deepens, you begin to share your lives on a very personal level. It’s only a matter of time before the hidden hurts begin to surface. It hungers for healing. The ‘tug of trust’ often thrusts us into the person’s struggles—the pain that was once concealed. Hook the heart with an eternal lure—the love of Christ. You will be swept with your friend down the depths of despair. Your relationship may threaten to sever in the restless unrelenting river. Don’t let go! Fight for your friend’s life. Love this lost soul back to the shores of heaven—the riverbank of God. Hold your friend up high before your Father in heaven, smile, and hear Him say, “You are a fine fisher of people.” Amen.