All You Need is a Grasshopper
I guided a backpacking trip to Colorado over Labor Day weekend. We departed after work on Thursday evening and drove to La Junta, CO. On Friday we ate a great meal, purchased our fishing license, and drove to the trailhead. We experienced several sanctifying moments along the way. By God’s grace the moments became memories and we were blessed to hike up the trail. We found a place to make camp and established our new home for the next three nights. The next day we hiked to a high mountain lake that was filled with cutthroat trout. The lake trout were bigger than the stream trout and were a challenge to catch. Oh, what a blessing it was to be in such a beautiful place. One of our team members tried to catch a fish for two days and found herself coming up short. Just like in the movies or on a television show we were running out of time with minutes left in our fishing experience when another team member ran over with a live grasshopper. He offered it as a gift. Shanae took it and gave her line a last minute cast. Sure enough a trout hit the bait and Shanae set the hook and the fish was on. Time seemed to stand still as Shanae reeled in the fish. As it got closer and closer to the bank the drag would zing and the fish would make another run. As most of you fishermen and women know, the catch is not complete until you land it and have it in your possession. All of that happened in slow motion. The picture in this post is what took place once the fish was out of the water and a safe distance on shore. The cutthroat was tenacious as we snapped a few picks. A life goal had been accomplished, Shanae’s first fish had been caught. We can learn a lot of lessons from a fishing experience like this. I would like to focus on one of the challenges Jesus gave his disciples in Matthew 4:19. He said, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” Fishing for people works best when we have an eternal perspective. We can have the fishing edge when we then practice these four fishing tips. Do these four things for ninety days and your life will never be the same again.
Fishing for People
1. Fear of God (ask for God’s heart for the lost around you)
2. Be a true Friend
3. Find out where your friend is on their spiritual journey
4. Be faithful over a period of time
Fear of God - Psalm 111:10 - the fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom. We must have God’s help if we are to be a good fisher for men and women. The biggest help for me over the years in this area has been the transformation of my heart. When I have a healthy fear of God, God gives me his heart for the lost. Once I have his heart for the lost the obstacles that once paralyzed me are less of a distraction.
Be a good Friend - Phil. 2:4 - consider others more important than yourself. We all appreciate a true friend through thick and thin. Let’s be a true friend for at least one person who does not know for sure where they will spend eternity.
Find out where your friend is on their spiritual journey - Luke 8:1-15 - we glean insight into this topic from the parable of the sower. The soil that the truth seed is planted in matters. Knowing where a friend is on their spiritual journey is valuable information that you can glean organically while being an authentic friend. It does not have to be awkward or indifferent. Enjoy the process of asking the Holy Spirit to give you the right questions to ask and the right timing of the conversations.
Be faithful over a period of time - Romans 12:10 - Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor. Once again, there is a high value placed on a true friend over a period of time. Be grateful for the friends you have and be that kind of friend to someone in order to overflow the love of Jesus on them and bless them with a future peace that will last this lifetime and the one to come.
Consistency with these four fishing tips overtime produces amazing spiritual fruit. God has used me to help hundreds of people make salvation decisions and grow deep roots in their faith. Do you remember the old proverb? “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” There are several applications to this proverb. I would like to focus on the disciplemaking application. As we have a healthy fear of God, receive God’s heart for the lost, be a true friend, find out where our friends are on their spiritual journey, and remain faithful over a period of time, people will choose salvation in Jesus Christ. Once they make that decision, you help them grow deep roots of faith in healthy spiritual soil and repeat the process as you teach them to fish for people.