Whitney and I went fishing today. It was the first time I had been fishing in quite a while. She caught three fish and I finally managed to drag in one too.
Let’s be honest here. I was just glad to catch one. I’m not much of a fisherman which would have been obvious to anyone were they to notice that I only brought a handful of baits. That’s also proof that my expectations weren’t very high.
About an hour into the trip I had had quite a few bites but I was never able to actually hook one. I finally realized my problem. My bait was too big! The only fish that were biting were six inches long at best and they just couldn’t handle the bait I was throwing out there. I didn’t have anything smaller so the rest of the day I just kept throwing that bait out there knowing it was too big and hoping one would finally come along who could get ahold of it.
It got me to thinking.
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19 (NIV)
How many times in our spiritual arrogance do we talk to people who aren’t believers in and followers of Jesus about deep doctrinal issues thinking that they’ll be impressed by how much we know and will then want to become a Christian?
We strap something else to the Gospel that might make it hard to swallow.
We strap something (like knowledge or works) to grace and by doing so we remove the true identity of this undeserved favor.
Chances are they’ll be a lot more impressed if they see Jesus in us. After all, what’s more impressive than what He has done?
They need to see someone who dies for those who rejected Him.
They need Jesus. Not whatever we want to strap to Him because of our insecurity.
So, how’s your bait? Mine needs trimming.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed.
Sometime I feel discouraged.
Sometimes I feel tired.
Sometimes I feel unappreciated.
Sometimes I feel like giving up.
Then I remember…
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.” -Hebrews 4:15
…He’s worth it.
I’m sure like me you’ve heard this saying:
“The eyes are the window to the soul.”
Now I don’t know who said it first and quite frankly don’t care. There’s been some effort to try to link it to some biblical passages but I think most of those are a bit of a stretch. Regardless of the saying’s origin, it came to mind today as I was walking across campus.
I have a tendency like many people to be so wrapped up in what I’m doing that I walk through crowds of people almost as if they don’t exist. I don’t acknowledge them, they don’t acknowledge me and we’re both good with that lack of relationship. Then it happens…eye contact. At that point, there’s no denying each other’s existence. It’s often somewhat uncomfortable for a variety of reasons. I just want to hit on one. The one that I was reminded of today.
There’s this idea that you can’t escape if you’re a follower of Jesus. It’s simple yet profound and Jesus spoke about it quite often. I think it’s best summed up in this way:
Everybody lives forever somewhere.
Everyone. Every set of eyes. Every person will spend eternity in one place or another. Again, a core belief as a Christian is that there’s only two choices: heaven or hell. Some people don’t like that. But that doesn’t make it any less true.
Maybe the eyes aren’t the window to the soul, but one thing is true for me and I think you’ll find it true as well. When I look into the eyes of someone and really SEE them I can’t deny that somewhere behind those eyes is a soul that will live forever.
Fix your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) and you’ll find that you look into the eyes of others differently.
Have any of you experienced this?