We have a thought-provoking saying here at Metro North Church:
“We fish with a net, not a pole.”
What does that mean?
Many fishermen would cast a net together to capture fish during the times Christ walked the earth.
Fishing with a pole all by yourself, like we might do here in the low country, was not the usual form of fishing.
Jesus’ last command - “Go and publish my plan to save the world!” is to be Metro’s first priority.
And this adventurous command was given to a community of followers, not to an individual.
- But this is where I get stuck.
I know that I am to be seeking and saving the lost with others (casting the net of salvation), but if I am honest, I much prefer to stay on the shore and clean the nets with my fellow followers of Jesus.
Jesus found some “net cleaners” in Luke chapter five. While walking by the edge of a lake, Jesus spied some empty fishing boats. Luke the biographer writes “the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.”
Did you catch that? Instead of spending time in the boats and casting the nets for fish, the fishermen were on shore cleaning the nets.
Jesus directs Simon "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."
Could casting nets be more fun than cleaning them?
Jesus seems to think so, and here are two reasons why:
Reason Number One: Casting is adventurously dangerous, uncomfortable and unstable while cleaning is safe, comfortable and stable.
Sounds counter intuitive but think about it….
A story is boring if it has no risk of harm or hurt. But who wants to risk getting hurt? We are “hurt-averse.” This makes sense in a fallen world.
And Jesus cares enough not to care about our self-focused, emotional hesitancy. He is helping the fallen world to stand up again!
Peter replies to Jesus’ command to cast with the words "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing!”
Behind Peter’s words we sense his exhaustion and desire for safety, comfort and changelessness.
While on shore with his buddies, he was on solid ground going through the methodical motions of net cleaning.
Our personal routines and rituals set the rhythm of the predictable net cleaning life.
But Jesus clearly commanded them to cast their nets. His kingdom way of life always seeks the lost. Sacrificial love involves danger, discomfort and the risky unknown.
Jesus crosses streets and climbs over fences in order to cast himself around others who need help and healing. He ventures out with his people to rescue those caught in an ocean of darkness so that they can enter into the sunshine of life with God and others forever.
Cleaning the nets has its place. But they are cleaned in order to be cast.
Reason Number Two: Casting is more exhilarating than cleaning.
Simon and his fishing buddies cast the nets and experienced a SURPRISE!
The nets captured so many fish that they began to break! Luke tells us that another boat was rushed to the fishing site and both boats were filled to the point of sinking.
They all looked on wide-eyed with emotional astonishment.
I want that astonishment too.
But I will have to stop spending all of my time cleaning the nets.
I will have to relish the words that Jesus gave to Simon "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men."
I will have to grab a fishing buddy and cast the net.
Will you cast the net with me?
Metro North Church