A Modern Day Parable of Fishing

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.” Mark 1:17-18

 

Now it came to pass that a group existed that called themselves fishermen. There were many fish in the waters all around. In fact, the whole area was surrounded by streams and lakes filled with fish. And the fish were hungry. Week after week, month after month and year after year those that called themselves fishermen met in meetings and talked about their call to fish, the abundance of fish, and techniques of fishing. Year after year they carefully defined what fishing means, defended fishing as an occupation, and declared that fishing is to be the primary task of the fisherman. These fishermen built large, beautiful buildings for local fishing headquarters. The plea was that everyone should be a fisherman and that everyone should fish. However, one thing they did not do… They did not fish!

Our God-given privilege -- to be fishers of men!

In addition to meeting regularly, they organized a board to send out fishermen to other places where there were many fish. A board was formed by those who had great vision and courage to speak about fishing and to promote fishing in far away streams and lakes, where many fish of different colors lived. Also, the board hired staff, appointed committees, and held many meetings to decide what new streams should be considered. But the board, the staff and committee members did not fish. Large, elaborate and expensive training centers were built, whose original and primary purpose was to teach fishermen how to fish. Over the years, courses were offered on the needs of fish, the nature of fish, the psychological reaction of fish, as well as how to approach and feed fish. Those who taught had doctorates in fishology, but the teachers did not fish, they only taught fishing. Furthermore, the fishermen built large printing houses to publish fishing guides. Presses were kept busy day and night to produce materials solely devoted to fishing methods, equipment and programs to arrange and encourage meetings to talk about fishing. Seminars, conferences and jubilees were also established to schedule special speakers on the subject of fishing.

After one stirring seminar on the “Necessity of Fishing,” two young fellows left the meeting and went fishing. The next day, the first fellow reported he had caught a hundred fish! It turned out to be just a “fish story.” The other young man actually did catch two outstanding fish! He was honored for his excellent catch and scheduled to visit all the big meetings possible to tell how he did it. So he quit fishing in order to have time to tell the experiences to all other fishermen. He was also placed on the fishermen’s board as a person having considerable experience.

Now it is true that many of the fishermen sacrificed and put up with all kinds of difficulties. Some lived near the water and bore the smell of dead fish. They received the ridicule of some who made fun of their call to fish and their fishermen’s clubs. They even wondered about those who felt it was of little use to attend meetings and talk about fishing. After all, were they not following the Master who said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men?” Imagine how hurt some were when one day a person suggested that those who don’t fish were not really fishermen, no matter how much they claim to be. Yet it did sound correct. Is a person a fisherman, if year after year he never catches a fish? Is one following, if he is not fishing?*

The Latin Ministry keeps on fishing and baptizes Luis Guerrero!

The church sings “We Love You with the Love of the Lord” to Michael Smith during his Restoration to the Fellowship!

This modern parable, though at times humorous, should be a sobering reminder not to be “fishers of men” in name only. I am so encouraged by the growth of the churches of SoldOut Movement, and how being very serious about Jesus’ charge unites us! While so many in our movement are united in our mission of fishing to seek and save the lost, many more need to remember the call to fish and imitate those who are working hard. Every week we send out a “Good News Email” to many eager listeners around the world. The following email is the good news from this week:

Raul Moreno of Sao Paulo: Today, the Lord gave us a great service, as we saw Danilo get baptized! He happens to be the first person that Tyler Sears shared his faith with the very first day he went on campus! (God answered his righteous prayers for boldness and fruit our very first day!) After doing all the Bible studies at that time, persecution from his family took him out. But the Word of God always has its designed effect (Isaiah 55:11), as he has studied the past few weeks and made decisions to love Jesus more than anyone or anything. Now he is your brother in Christ at USP (University of Sao Paulo) which happens to be the top university not only in Brazil, but according to the QS World Rankings is the number one university in all of South America! It took him five months to be a disciple, but it was worth the wait!

Michael Williamson: Greetings from London, England! We had an amazing service this Sunday, as many friends and family came out for the first time to see God’s church in London! The church was fired-up to welcome our “partner in the gospel” Eldrin Rojas, who landed bright and early Saturday morning from Curacao! Eldrin is visiting London for two weeks, to potentially train to replace Michael Hart as the leader of this inspirational remnant group when the Harts move here in the summer.

While disciples were at Heathrow Airport greeting Eldrin, Jurij Zykov greeted his sister who came to visit him from Germany and also attended church on Sunday. Harry Tabi (who had placed membership with us last year) had his brother at church for the first time, who is still a member of our former fellowship but has now made the decision to worship with us consistently!

Satan was scheming and attacked our pump for our “portable baptistery” Sunday morning, but radical Oliver Greenwood (aptly nicknamed “the Fight Dog”) was able to blow up a 16 foot kiddie pool with his lungs! Whew! Next, with roughly 100 people in attendance, the church was encouraged as our new sister Irene (who was baptized just two weeks ago) baptized her good friend immediately after service! Catherine is a single mom from Camden Town who insisted that we not hold her off from baptism as she couldn’t sit through another church service knowing she was not right with GOD! Please keep us in your prayers!

Yesterday was our 3rd Annual Women’s Day!

Vic Gonzalez Jr. of Santiago: Greetings from way down here in the Southern Hemisphere! God has blessed the church here in Santiago, Chile with yet another two international baptisms! Ralph, our first Haitian brother, was converted through our Campus Ministry’s efforts! Our next international baptism was an incredible woman named Mag from Colombia! Mag’s daughter Laura (a teenager) was baptized a few weeks ago! Praise be to our God that in the 45 weeks since the “Supplemental Mission Team’s” arrival, the Lord has blessed us with – 59 baptisms! Pray for us because our summer is coming to an end and classes will soon begin! ¡Ponte Las Pilas!

Disciples arm and arm worshipping God Together!

Dustin Miller of Portland: Greetings from the beautiful City of Roses! Today’s service was outstanding as we witnessed the incredible restoration of our dear brother Michael Smith, had our record attendance in the english ministry of 91 people and experienced exemplary singing that is only found in the kingdom of God!  God has been working powerfully to bring back many people who have walked away from their relationship with him as there were multiple people visiting who heard Michael share vulnerably about how he left God and is now ready to work! 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13a says, ” Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.  Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.”  I felt so honored to have brothers like Ted Green and Richard Caoile who have set a great example of laying down their lives for the lost and helping our new brother Michael get restored to God. Our amazing evangelist Ron Harding preached a convicting and inspiring message going through the book of Colossians entitled “Presenting Each Other Perfect”.  Ron challenged the entire church to really go after fighting for one another through prayer.  It was especially encouraging to me to have my parents out to church as they have persecuted the church since I became a disciple and were deeply moved by Ron’s lesson as he preached the word of God.  Also, in our Latin Ministry was the amazing baptism of Luis Guerra who made the incredible decision to make Jesus Lord of his life at only 16 years old! Luis is the third teen baptism in the Latin Ministry this year! Please pray for our Women’s Day this coming weekend as our incredible sister Tracy Harding will be preaching the word!

Carlos Mejia of Washington DC: Great news from DC, as two more were added to God’s Kingdom through the waters of baptism! Jasmine, a sophomore from Howard University, was baptized into Christ! All the disciples were moved during her testimony, as she shared with tears and deep conviction about her desire to do whatever is required to get out of the darkness! Keith, who has been attending church for just under a year, was finally and truly baptized as a disciple this week! The brothers have been so patient, and worked so diligently to win this young man’s heart for God, and their hard work has paid off! Also of note was the communion message delivered by Noel & Janice Garcia! Janice shared so vulnerably! We are so inspired by God as He continues to lead many with”cords of human kindness; and ties of love!” (Hosea 11:4) We are praying for a great harvest!

Truly, our God is moving among the nations! As we come out of winter in the spring season, let us consider some of Jesus’ words to His disciples, “Put out into deep water, and let down your nets for a catch.” (Luke 5:4) Therefore, as the Spirit leads us into “deep water” challenges that seem “over our heads” both here in Portland and around the world, let us be assured that God will more than fill our nets with fish. (Luke 5:7) And to God be the glory!

 

Ron Harding

 

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.