May 11, 2008
As the Father has sent me, so I send you. – John 20: 21
A game warden in a certain fishing village began to notice that one particular fisherman was bringing back more fish each night than all the others combined. This made him very suspicious. So one day he decided to go along with the man to see what was going on. The fisherman steered his boat into a secluded cove & dropped anchor. Then he opened his fishing box & removed a stick of dynamite. He lit the fuse, & then, when almost spent, he threw it out of the boat. As it hit the water it exploded, sending a great spray of water into the air. Then scores of fish, either dead or stunned by the blast, floated up to the surface & were taken into the boat.
Seeing this, the game warden was furious: “See here, I will not allow you to break the law this way. I’m issuing you a summons to appear in court.” The fisherman (lighting a second stick of dynamite & putting it into the warden’s hand) said, “Are you gonna talk or are you gonna fish?”
“The Father has sent me, so I send you.” Three years earlier Jesus had invited his disciples to become fishers of men. Now the time had come to stop talking & go fishing! Then He breathes on them & says, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn 20: 22). He gives them the power & the strength to take the dynamite of the Good News to the ends of the earth. Before long, the disciples are being referred to as “these men who have turned the world upside down” (Acts 17: 6).
“The City of Everywhere” is an allegory about those who look responsibility clearly in the face, recognize it, then refuse to accept it. The story tells of a traveler who gets off the train in “Everywhere” only to find no one wearing shoes despite the cold & snow. Each time he asked someone “Why don’t you wear any shoes in this city?” he got the reply, “Ah, that’s it. Why don’t we?” There was even a building with a sign “Shoe Manufacturing Co.” but when he asked if shoes were made there he was told, “Not exactly. We TALK about making shoes here. Every week we listen to a man who speaks thrilling & convincingly on the subject of shoes. Only yesterday, people broke down & wept when he expounded on the necessity of wearing shoes.” Visitor: “But why don’t you wear them?” Reply: “Ah, that’s it. Why don’t we?”
Near the end of His sermon on the mount, Jesus says to the crowd, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord & do not do what I tell you?” Ah, that’s it. Why don’t we? “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (Jn 14: 15). Why don’t we? “Feed my lambs … tend my sheep … feed my sheep” Why don’t we? “Go therefore & make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Spirit, teaching to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28: 19-20). Why don’t we?
Do we hesitate to fill those shoes because we think people just wouldn’t understand? Are we afraid that filling those shoes will make us look different than those who walk ‘barefoot’ out of church, week after week? Do we somehow feel that it is beneath our respectability to try to turn the world upside down with the PEACE of Christ? Is it beneath our respectability to do the work of an evangelist? Jesus is calling us now: “Come after me & I will make you fishers of men.” The question is, “Are we gonna talk or are we gonna fish? AMEN!