“Come follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” That’s what the coffee shop poster read. We’ve all heard it, but something struck me as I sipped my latte. Jesus’ disciples fished with a net, not bait and hook. The fish came in by the net-breaking, boat-sinking loads—that is, when Jesus was giving the instructions—and the fish didn’t have an option.
Do our ministries fish the same way Jesus instructed or have we dropped the powerful nets and switched to bait and hook? In Acts 1:4, Jesus ordered His disciples to WAIT until they received power. What changed since then?
Jesus’ disciples were different ages, some even in their early teens, yet He always instructed them at the same level. Ministry today, however, is often segregated by age. Adults get more “in-depth” teaching while children are reminded weekly about Bible stories and the same basic truths, though the children may have been Christians longer than some adults who lead them. Then we wonder where all the serious Christians are after college. Maybe we’ll be more effective at keeping the kids if we give them the same credit Jesus did: Don’t plan weekly teaching as if children never heard of Jesus just because they are young. ALL Christians can fish with nets—the key isn’t age, it’s to wait for Jesus’ power.
Atheist education teaches that God has no power to create while hyperactive adults pursue evangelism without waiting for the miraculous healing power of Christ. Many teachers instruct based on theory and certification, rather than preaching from their own lives, then we dare to condemn hypocrisy as if we haven’t invited it. “Nameit-claimit” healers try to hype crowds into “believing” their way toward blessing, rather than pressing their way into belief. And some professors attempt to “teach” people into belief, thinking it’s the same as pressing-through. It’s all connected: We must lead each other out of our daily activities and choices rather than certified theory. We must teach other at the greatest level to which we ourselves honestly seek the Lord, regardless of natural age.
No one likes to wait—that’s why Jesus “ordered” His disciples to wait.
Waiting is what separates the men from the boys—men and boys in Spirit. Sitting for hours, in anticipation of the Spirit, keeps those who are impatient from carrying the validating-power of Jesus’ name. After you’ve pressed through the urge to get up and call it a day for the fifth time, in an eight hour prayer stint, something happens and your spirit breaks-down, repenting for something you had never realized was keeping you in bondage. Waiting through the winter of life grows our foundational root system so we don’t blow over in the summer wind once our branches are filled with leaves.
When the disciples first fished with Jesus, their nets broke (Luke 5:6). The second time, three years later, the nets held (John 21:11). Power to bear the catch trails AFTER time with Jesus.