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Fishing without catching doesn’t have to mean failure for the evangelist

“I still have many things  to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:12-13 ESV)

 

Interestingly, Jesus did not promise that we would be catchers of men but fishers of men!  This is an important concept if we are going to understand what success is.  There are times when we catch and times when we wait in the boat with our Father just like when we were kids.  The catching is exciting and the waiting difficult. But the worst day fishing with your dad is still better than a regular day not fishing.

Last week I was at a hospital with one of my kids.  I needed to fill a prescription for him for a tooth infection.  While I was handing over the doctor’s note to the pharmacist, a young man sat down.  He was red-faced from crying.  I felt Jesus move with compassion inside me.  His heart ached for the young man.  So, I asked the young man, “Are you okay?” and he responded emphatically that he was not.

I sat down immediately and put my arms around him and hugged him tightly.  He hugged me back hard and cried.  I rubbed his back and mothered him, telling him everything was going to be okay.  I knew this to be true because I sensed the Holy Spirit say so.  I asked his name and shared mine. We had the same last name which was perfect for mothering.  His story began to spill out that he had received an incurable infection from his partner which also revealed that his partner had been unfaithful.  He was completely devastated.

I said, “Sweetie, if I threw a twenty dollar bill on the floor and stepped on it, how much would it be worth at the till?”

He replied, “Twenty dollars.”

“Right!  What if I crumpled it, or spat on it?  What would it be worth at the till?”

He said, “Twenty dollars.”

People are still valuable when they are mistreated.

God’s Spirit began to reach him with truth, “Sweetie, your worth and value does not change based on how others treat you, by your mistakes in judgment or sin. You worth is based on the fact that God made you and loves you very much.  This is non-negotiable.  Value is also based on two other things.  First, is rarity.  There has never been another one of you or ever will be ever again.  You are rare and valuable and the only representation of God’s image in this particular likeness to be on the earth in history.  Secondly, worth is based on what someone is willing to pay for it.  Honey, you were paid for with blood.  Jesus’ blood.  He died for your sins so that you could live forever with Him and your Heavenly Father by removing the offending sin between you.  Do you know who Jesus is?”

“Yes, my whole family prays.”  I was surprised and yet not.  So much compromise has filled the church and the world. Never before had I wanted to set everything in order in one short conversation.  I wanted to put every puzzle piece of life in place with one short conversation.  After all, this was wrong.  I knew the answers-I could fix this!  But God’s precious Spirit reminded me of a conversation I recently had with a friend.  She told me of a new believer she knew had been attending church for about 6 months and one day rushed into the pastor's office aghast at a new revelation from God’s word saying, “Pastor, did you know that pornography is wrong?”  To the pastor’s credit, he kept his face passive and welcoming, “Yes, actually I did.  Tell me how you came to find this out”

With shock he said, “I was reading my bible and the Holy Spirit pointed out the verse that to look at a woman lustfully was the same as committing adultery so I asked my wife if that’s how she felt when I watched porn and she told me yes!  I can’t look at porn now! That’s wrong!” (Matt 5:28)

The pastor was pleased, to say the least!  This is a picture of where things are at right now in society.  Like Nineveh - some do not know their right hand from their left.  But God is still moving by His Holy Spirit, leading people into all truth, even on things we think they know but don’t.

This story flashed through my mind, I knew that the Holy Spirit was saying that this young man was traumatized and would not be able to receive correction about his choices.  Today he was bleeding out and Jesus wanted to stop it and keep this young man from making the ultimate decision to end his life due to the pain, hopelessness and confusion he was experiencing.

God reminded me also of Jesus who said to His own disciples, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:12-13 ESV) Even Jesus could not put all the puzzle pieces together when He wanted to.  He had to leave it to the Holy Spirit for later when they could bear it.

God had this same strategy for the young man and I said, “Sweetie, you have a lot of decisions to make based on what has happened and you will need to put some boundaries in place based on your worth and value.  You also need to get back into God’s word.  It will help with your new decisions and know the Lord better.  But before you even open your bible, ask the Holy Spirit to come and teach you the word.”  He agreed and cried as I held him in God’s consoling love.  I knew that his life was safe and God would begin to move on His word to show this young man the right way to go, away from premarital sex and homosexuality.

We prayed together for his life and then God spoke to my heart, “He hasn’t been to church for a long time.”  So I said, “Honey, God says you haven’t been in church for a long time.  It’s time to go back.”  I had to trust the Lord that he would one day walk into a pastor’s office declaring that he knew what was right and wrong because of God’s Holy Spirit.

I wanted to lead him in a recommitment prayer.  I wanted to tell him so much and put all the pieces into the right places and fix everything at once.  I hated not having the conversation I really wanted to have.  But I love Holy Spirit and His wisdom and timing.  I had to wait until he could bear it.  Love is patient and kind.  It believes and it endures, even the waiting.

Today fishing was not catching.  Today fishing was waiting for the fish to be a little hungrier, a little more ready.  Today, fishing with My Father in Heaven was waiting in the boat and loving.  One day soon, another fisher of men will come and that fish will be ready.  Today, waiting in the boat with My Father was still better than a day doing anything else.

 

--TC

 

 

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