Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ice "Fishing for Men"

When I began a series on “Fishing for Men” a year ago I was in the warm tropical climate of the Philippines. There were many examples of fishing all around including net fishing, a fishing village on the water and even fishing with explosives. On a side note, some interesting Google search results have led people to this site “Simple Truths” and to the post “Fishing with Explosives”, namely people googling for “simple explosives”. Therefore, I feel a responsibility to tell all you would-be terrorists out there to “find a new line of work!”

Back to fishing. The one example of fishing that you will never find in the tropics is ice fishing, but you can find it in Ukraine. I see people every day setting up chairs, drilling holes in the ice – not so thick ice I might add – and defying all barriers just to get a fish or two. I liken this to the must stubborn types of evangelism. It is not fishing/outreach season, the fish are lethargic, the climate is not welcoming, the ground is cold and as hard as concrete and the catch is small. Nonetheless, the fisherman goes out.

Church planting or simple outreach is sometimes like this. It takes stubbornness, patience and resilience. Some countries are like the frozen lake. They are cold both spiritually and physically. They are even deadly like real ice fishing. They can swallow the missionary without a trace. Nonetheless, we are called to go. He calls us to go. Jesus does so because He did so Himself. He came to the coldest place, the hardest ground, uninvited and unwelcomed. The place was not just geographical. It was our own hearts.

I have friends in far-away places doing things for God that might never be heard of. They are heroes. They are not more gifted as you might think. Neither are they less gifted. They are just stubborn. Most of all they are obedient. In an age of grandiose strategies for what is popularly called “
planting churches” these people have the heartbeat of the Lord. They will not take “no” for an answer. Neither are they dissuaded by rejection from those whom they seek nor are they disheartened by those who should encourage them but don’t. Well, I might be wrong about the discouragement.

In order to fully obey the commandment that Jesus gave to disciple the nations we must have the same stubbornness, patience and resilience as the ice fisherman. It is not a sport. It is the heartbeat of God.

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