Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Bigger Boat or a Bigger Net?

In the classic movie Jaws we are formally introduced to the monster fish when he raises his mammoth head out of the water as Police Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) is throwing fish food off the back of their rickety boat. Thus proceeds the sober quote by the traumatized chief, “You're gonna need a bigger boat.”

Now allow me to jump ship here to another fishing boat, the church. Bigger churches are not bad, but bigger churches don’t necessarily catch bigger fish or more fish for that matter. The secret to a good fishing boat is not only what is seen above the water but the vast nets that are towed beneath the waves.

It is also important where we cast our nets so we don’t end up getting our lines tangled with other fishing boats. Basically, churches should not cast their nets into other churches.

Just last summer I was staying with friends right on the beach in North Carolina. I awoke one morning before the swimmers went out because I heard the gentle humming of the fishing trawlers over the breaking of the waves.

My first impression was one of solitude, but as I looked closely I could see that the small boat – nearly identical to the boat in Jaws – was dragging nets that were hundreds of meters long. And while the fish and the vast nets were unseen by the inattentive sunbathers strolling to the beach the fisherman’s gaze was fixed on them via some sonar-driven fish-finder.

This is a great picture of what the church should be, and if we see a big church then we would assume that the nets are vaster even reaching to other nations. A fleet of such church/fishing boats with disproportionally large nets would change the world, but unfortunately some large church-boats have become cruise ships with little or no nets at all. Some behemoths run into icebergs due to the captain’s pride and vanish beneath the waves with many lives wrecked or lost.

Nonetheless, let’s have bigger churches, fleets of churches, because the potential catch is disproportionally larger than the number of solitary fishermen trawling among the nations. And let us assure that the nets that we cast are even bigger.

When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." Luke 5:4


Michael Watkins said...

Good word and reminder... Thanks.

Anonymous said...

After watching it one time, I felt it necessary that I had to own my own copy of the movie Fiddler On The Roof. In it, one of the best ethnic lines was, "well put...well put..."