One of my favorite stories is by Max Lucado. Titled “When Fishermen Don’t Fish” (In The Eye Of The Storm), Lucado tells the story of a fishing trip ruined by bad weather. Max, his dad, and his friend Mark spend three days trapped in his father’s camper with no time for fishing, Max begins to see personality flaws in his friend and his father. Max begins seeing Mark as more irritating every hour. He sees his dad as incompetent and unsupportive when he offers his supposed constructive criticism of Mark. He wonders how his dad could have raised such an even-tempered son. He questions his own judgment which prompted him to think Mark would be a good camping buddy. Tiring of Reader’s Digest articles, stale jokes, soggy food, and endless games of Monopoly, the three begin to bicker and fight. Max’s moral: When fishermen don’t fish, they fight.
Jesus prays, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:20-21 Jesus’ prayer points us to a purposeful unity. We must be one in Christ as a witness to the world that Jesus is the One sent by the Father. God’s call to unity is not just so we can feel happy and at peace. Our unity is a witness to Jesus’ work in our lives. It is God’s gift. True unity is centered in Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit and honors the Father.
Psalm 133 puts it this way, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in harmony.” Not just good, but also pleasant. Not just pleasant, but also good. There is a great joy and blessing in a church that is united in faith and purpose. Those churches are most likely to be effective in witness and evangelism as they draw strength and encouragement from one another.
To some extent, we have been kept in the camper by the pandemic these past two years. Maybe you’re frustrated with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Maybe people are angry and irritated with you. It seems the pandemic is over. It’s time to go fishing. It’s time to spread the Good News of Jesus’ love and engage in his mission. When we’re fishing for people, we’ll find just how abundant life can be. Purposeful, meaningful, and united in God’s goodness and love, we will be living out our true destiny. God will be glorified. People will be saved. Let’s go fishing!
By Rev. David Bahn, D. Min.
Congregation Support Specialist