Fish Out of Water



Fish Out of Water
Sunday, September 1, 2019
Luke 5:1-11

When he finished speaking to the crowds, he said to Simon, “Row out farther, into the deep water, and drop your nets for a catch.”

Luke 5:4

Imagine this: You grew up going to church. Your best friends were in youth group. Then you went to a Christian college where you met your Christian spouse. The bridesmaids and groomsmen in your wedding were Christian friends.

You moved to a new city to start a family. You made your first friends at church and put your kids in a Christian preschool. You now work 50+ hours a week and don’t have much free time. When you do, you’re volunteering at church.

The reason that your church is only reaching Christians could be as simple as this: You don’t know anyone who isn’t already a Christian.

- Fresh Expressions US

In all of our well-intended attempts to make “church” a priority in our lives, is it possible that we have so isolated ourselves from the world that we no longer have any redemptive influence among those beyond our walls? Is our light washed out by the Sunday morning glow of stained glass? Has our salt lost its value because we spend all our time in the “Dead Sea” of Christendom where the supply of salt never runs out while the world sits at our banks dying of thirst for just a sip of fresh living water?

If Jesus wanted to create a new religion, or even reform a dying religious institution, he would have started with religious people. Instead, we find early on in Jesus’ ministry a radical shift from “religious leaders” to ordinary people.

Jesus knew the “fish” were not waiting around in synagogue and the temple to be caught. That’s why he went where the fish were. That’s why he called people who were already there, living and working among the ordinary people who needed to know that they were immensely valuable to God. The church may teach us how to fish, but as a fishing hole, the church is tapped out. Jesus tells us to go out into deeper waters. If you want to fish, you have to go where the fish are.

Jesus has come into the world to reveal God and to redeem the cosmos. But he is known to us only through the witness of his apostles. The call of the first disciples marks the beginning of a movement that culminates in the founding of the church. The church did not come into existence through a group of persons who wanted to start a good, even benevolent, organization.

Arland J. Hultgren

If the disciples did church the way we do today, would the world still know about Jesus?

Jesus is about to ask them to re-imagine what it means for them to be fishers - and to re-imagine who "fish" might be. So the moral of this story is NOT, "Let's keep doing what we have always done before and trust that one day God will fill our nets." If anything, the moral is, "Let's stop fishing the way we have always done it. Let's re-imagine who we are and how we are and what we are called to do now. Let's be fish out of water!"

Rev. Dr. George Hermanson