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Sunday Message for 6 February 2022: “Spiritual Fishing”

Today’s message is more than just another fishing tale (Luke 5:1-11). Jesus reminded his closest followers that there is more to life than being preoccupied with catching and selling literal fish. Jesus’ monumental words continue to inspire: “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people” (Luke 5: 10b).

What did Jesus mean by catching people? As usual, Jesus conveyed a spiritual meaning behind his literal words. Jesus’ language alluded to the way in which his disciples were supposed to help connect people with God. Some of Jesus’ closest followers were fishermen, hence Jesus used fishing terminology to help them understand spiritual truth.

There are physical nets used to catch fish but the nets Jesus mentioned metaphorically represent the gospel message, which is the good news of God’s love connecting with humanity. When Jesus mentioned catching people he wanted his followers to share God’s redeeming love.

Whereas fish are caught for food, people of faith catch by helping others draw closer to God, the Master Fisherman. The disciples were disturbed because they couldn’t catch actual fish in their physical nets. But Jesus reminded his friends that their true task would be gathering people into God’s kingdom.

Do you consider yourself to be a spiritual fisherman? As God’s follower, that’s precisely what you are. You fish virtually by doing outreach, which is your mission to spread Jesus’ good news of redemption. You don’t have to go far to do spiritual fishing because there are people everywhere who need what you have to offer.

Fishing for souls is valuable because this is a vital way for you to demonstrate compassion. As to challenges, don’t worry about sailing your boat in rough seas. God is with you everywhere you go, to reach folks swimming in life’s perilous ocean. The process of spiritual fishing goes full circle when someone you caught then learns how to fish for others. This cycle continues and many people can be reached with the life-saving message.

People often get caught by internal storms, losing direction and turning to addictive substances and self-destructive behaviors. To help overcome this you are equipped with more than a fishing pole and hooks; you have the safety net of God inside you. Be ready to share your relationship with God because in doing so you may help pull someone from deep, dangerous depths.

Aside from serving God by sharing your faith, the biggest factor in church growth is the simple act of inviting others to your place of worship. With this in mind, it’s worth asking, “Have you gone fishing today?” Cast your virtual net into your community and you may be blessed by what you catch.

Everywhere you go, people are searching and yearning for greater joy and meaning. Help these seekers find life-saving insight by drawing them into a spiritual net toward the Almighty. You can be the vital life-line which God uses to reach those who are buried by the waves. You are crucial to God’s plan. Your uniqueness as an individual means that you can reach people others can’t relate to as well.

St. John church is positioned well, like a superbly positioned vessel. We can sail any way God leads us, without the crosswinds of burdensome bureaucracy or distracting doctrines. Where and how we fish is up to us, under God’s guidance, and we are free to be whom God calls us to be.

Muster courage and don’t fear casting your spiritual net into deep, challenging waters. As you fish, pray that God will use you effectively, to reach those who are drowning. Persevere in your task because fishing for souls will reward you more than any other day’s catch.   –Reverend Larry Hoxey

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