Wrong Bait

by | May 21, 2006 | Great Commission, Witnessing

My friend and I were enjoying an evening’s fishing at a local lake that boasts large trout. Now my friend is a devoted, fly fishing aficionado, bordering on the fanatical purist. On the other hand, I like fishing, but I fish to catch fish and am not so very particular about technique or species.

We stood in the boat, and it was fascinating to see the effortless grace of my buddy as he diligently cast just the right fly from one rise to the next. As he did so, I made clumsy attempts to imitate his artful delivery. It seemed though that no matter how perfect his delivery or how closely matched the fly to the hatch that neither of us was having any success.

More for a joke than anything, I switched to my spin casting rig. I rooted around until I found the lure I thought would most likely annoy my friend. I pulled out a very large bright orange beast. It was the most unlikely lure to use where we were fishing, but it was big, ugly and sure to bug my friend. It was the sort of thing I might use in places looking for large Northern Pike.

I heaved it out onto the lake with a grunt followed by a giant splash as it landed. He could scarcely contain his annoyance. His annoyance grew to wonder as a trout hit seconds later. She was a beauty, perhaps five pounds. Frankly, I was shocked that any trout would be dumb enough to hit a lure like that, but I did not let on. I simply told him that I felt it was time to use a lure that I was certain would work.

The next two casts, I had fish hit, although I was unable to get them to the boat. By then it was too much for my partner. He started pontificating about the fact that while my methods worked, his were much purer and more natural.

We see a similar phenomena happening in the church today. The church has been given a mandate…

Matthew 28:18-20 NIV Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

When an innovative new strategy comes out that reaches people, there are always those who sniff, look down their noses and say “We do not do it that way.” There is nothing wrong with continuing to do things the old way as long as the old way works. My friend continued fly fishing because he was more interested in the art than the results.

We do not have that luxury with our message. There is a world of hurting people destined for hell that we have been commanded to reach. We cannot afford to maintain the status quo just because we like the way it feels.

Please understand, I am talking about methodology not message. Any methodology with integrity that works is appropriate provided it does not compromise the message. I love to catch fish, but I would never break the law to catch them. In the same way our methods of outreach must be beyond reproach.

Having said that, no method that compromises the message is acceptable. An innovative ministry that distorts the truth is equally as wrong as a tradition laced church that denies the truth. The message must never be compromised. We have been given a sacred task … taking the love of Christ to all nations and teach them.

To use a fishing analogy, the Great Commission says nothing about which lure to use. It simply gives us our goal … search for lost souls, tell them the truth and equip them to do the same.

Where the old ways are working, by all means keep them. Where new ways are working by all means continue to use them. We have not been afforded the luxury of judging methodology … as long as the method retains the message.

Until next time, let us never forget our role is to seek the lost and hurting and offer them the comfort and saving grace of Jesus.

Kevin Corbin gleanings@gleaningsfromtheword.com http://gleaningsfromtheword.com


Wrong Bait