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KEEP CASTING even when it seems fruitless

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Read Matthew 28:18-20

Who doesn’t love a good fishing story? Many people at least entertain them, because they know there’s a chance it will be a wildly exaggerated story about catching a marlin with a toothpick and dental floss. We’ve all heard them before. How such a large fish was caught on such a small test line, and how the photographed proof somehow ‘got away.’ Our faces curl up in a smiling smirk while saying something like ‘yeah, right.’ But, what the soon-to-be disciples had just witnessed was an unbelievably huge fishing story.

That day, Peter and the others had the most amazing catch, so large it just about sunk a small fleet of boats as it was being hauled in. Imagine trying to tell that story to people who hadn’t been there. This is the fishing story above all fishing stories. The difference here is this one was true and was witnessed by a crowd of people! Everyone stood there astonished and still tingling with fear when Jesus gives the unique call to be ‘fishers of men.’

When I heard this story preached as a young boy, I would imagine myself, alone, casting a fishing line to catch folks for Jesus, one at a time. But, this view doesn’t match the text. We see many men working together to cast nets wide in water previously barren, catching a quantity of fish almost overwhelming their abilities to bring it in. In addition, we all know fishing isn’t always prosperous. This isn’t for a lack of trying. We see Peter and his partners fishing all night and catching nothing, only to be participants in the greatest catch at the most unexpected time. Just like the disciples, we’re called to be fishers of people, casting our nets wide to bring souls to the Kingdom. It isn’t always successful, but, like Peter, we’re called to keep casting even when it seems fruitless. Despite our lack of success, the thing to remember is those souls who escape our net could very well be brought to shore by someone downstream. The catch may still come in an unexpected way and where it previously failed.

Reflection and Response

When have you cast the net by sharing your faith and experienced a good catch? When have you pulled up the net empty? What keeps you casting the net when you come up empty?

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By Rich Obrecht 

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