In Pastor Marty’s absence on Sunday, February 22, I was able to bring one of the messages in the Gone Fishin’ series. The title of the message was, Fishing Buddies. At the end of our time of singing, I invited all those in the audience to spend a moment talking with God about fishing. I encouraged everyone to pray for people or confess their fear or pray for boldness – each individual could decide how and what to pray for.
As I considered what to pray for, a friend came to mind who has been in my prayers for several months. Not only did I pray that God would draw this man to the cross, but I also asked for boldness and opportunity to share.
Within six days of that prayer, it just “happened” to work out that we were able to spend about an hour and half talking about substantive themes including spirituality. We’ve had one or two similar conversations over the last nine months of our friendship. Each one has built on the trust established by the preceding time together.
Through our interactions, I’ve realized a couple of things about fishing for men:
He’s not a project. Too often I have thought about those whom I am “witnessing” to as a project. I’m trying to say the right thing at the right time in the right manner so they have no option but to accept Christ as their Savior. Projects become about what I can do. If I am operating in a Project mindset, I can easily over look the work of God in his life. I can be more interested in completing the project than partnering with what God is doing in him. I do well to remember that God is at work in my friend.
He’s a friend. As we share life, our friendship develops; as our friendship develops, we know each other better; as we know each other better, we trust each other more. Trust is the equity required for a person to consider the message of Jesus’ love and forgiveness. My motivation and approach should never be rooted in anything like manipulation or maneuvering but rather genuine care.
We’re having a conversation. The goal is not to get-the-sale or push to a specific end. It’s to share a journey that enriches each of our lives. Through our journey, he will come in contact with Jesus in me. At the right time there will be no problem asking him to consider Christ or come to church. “The Question” will flow very naturally out of our ongoing conversation.
So fishing for men isn’t to be forced or manipulated, but it is to be intentional. I regularly pray for my friend and look for opportunities that present themselves for us to spend more time together. It’s fun, meaningful and beneficial.
What about you? What are some of your fishing stories? I'd love to hear them, comment in the thread below and lets be encouraged by one another.
Also, please continue to pray for me and my friend.
Fishing alongside you,
- Pastor Zack