Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Fishing (06/07/04)
TITLE: Restoration, Reconciliation and Fishing For Men
By Charlotte Schafer
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Fishing requires a special set of equipment to make the task enjoyable and profitable. Such as rod and reel, hook and line and sometimes even nets.
Nets with holes in them are practically the worse tools a fisherman could have. But a net that has been restored to its original glory, now that is a true treasure. Such a net can be used when the fisherman finds a school of fish, for then he can cast his net out into the deep and pull in so many more than he would have ever caught with a fishing rod, fishing all night.
Restoration is the work of every good fisherman. Jesus once told his followers that he would make them fishers-of-men. We who are his disciples are valued restoration citizens in His Kingdom of Righteousness. We help restore one another to the faith when a brother or sister stumbles. Our jobs then are to gently and lovingly affirm them as still a part of the body of Christ. We reach down into the situation and we access it for what it is. Being ever watchful that we do not stumble into the same besetting arrangement.
Another word we might use to express restoration is the word reconciliation. You see as fishers-of-men, we who are believers have been called to the ministry of reconciliation. We may find ourselves in the fields of the world drawing people to the Lord through our work-a-day lives, as Cindy Johnson did for me just the other day. For you see I owed a bill that I could not find a way to pay, and she called requesting that I pay that bill.
Normally, in that situation, I would have told her that they would have to wait. But her kind demeanor and her excellent desire to help me and to care for me so blessed and moved me. Then at the end, she offered ever so carefully to remember to do what she could do about a job I had told her I was seeking, Now she could not pull strings concerning that job in any earthly way and we did not know one another, except that we both knew in our spirits that we were sisters in Christ. The only thing she could have done was to pray, and that was truly a great thing for she was pulling stings in heaven for me. I was moved, and filled with more hope. I was bolstered to do more for the Lord and to trust Him more.
We are the called, and it is our job to make a difference wherever we spend our days. For when we admonish others in love and when we share the obvious truth of Godís word the place where we stand is healing ground and unconditional love flows there.
When a fisherman mends his net, he makes sure the string is strong and not rotten. We must make sure that the material we mend with is not filled with menís rotten opinions, for only the Word of God will stand the test of time.
When a fisherman mends his net, he is careful to make every provision for it to be stronger and better than before. When we comfort a straggling brother or sister we must love them unconditionally, and we must make every provision to enable them to walk stronger and better than before, even if that requires us to carry them for a bit.
When a fisherman mends his net, he makes sure that no place in the net is too large a gap so that he will be able to retain all the fish he catches. When we go after a sinner we too make sure that we ourselves are walking in Christ so that we can be gap-bridgers for God. What exactly does a Gap-Bridger do? Well, this person, stands with arms open wide ready to receive the mercy of God, and ready to pass that mercy on to another, knowing that they too are sinners saved by His grace.
The tools required are truly what make the ministry of reconciliation prosperous. These tools are a faith born out of the love of God, they are a knowledge born out of time in the Word of God, and they are a walk born out of confidence in God, for then our fishing days will be successful.