January 27, 2008
“…He said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men’…” (Matthew 4:19)
Over the weekend, I brought along my family with me to Tagaytay where I gave a one and a half day retreat. During one of the breaks in the sessions, I took my three year old daughter Robelle for a stroll around the sprawling grounds of the venue.
As we were busy conversing about mundane and childish topics like the stock market and the economic crisis (Robelle’s favorite topics), we noticed an attractive looking fishpond a few meters from where we were. Seeing this, Robelle broke into a run towards it shouting excitedly, “Papang, fish! Fish!””.
When we got to the pond, I saw what she saw: A school of fish gathered by the surface of the pond where streaks of sunlight touched the face of the water.
As we inched closer to where the fish were, we noticed they retreated one by one out of sight beneath the murky waters. Then I just realized what happened: In drawing close to the pond, I unintentionally blocked the streak of light.
Then it dawned on me: Don’t we sometimes do the same thing when it comes to “fishing for men and women” for the kingdom of God?
Occasionally, we get the wrong impression that the success of our evangelistic endeavors is dependent mostly in our abilities, influence and gifts. As a result we obstruct their view of Christ. At times, we even feel very disappointed when a person whom we’ve been trying to evangelize for so many years still refuses to take God seriously in his life. And we penalize ourselves for that. As if evangelization is all about us and our capabilities. As if people are drawn to us. As if we are the light that they seek.
In today’s gospel, Jesus called Peter and Andrew to ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men’…” (Matthew 4:19). And throughout their ministry with Jesus, Peter and Andrew realized that an important fishing principle of their profession also applies to their evangelistic vocation: That people are really drawn, not to them, but to Jesus, the True Light of the world.
Last Thursday, I preached before a parish crowd somewhere in Paranaque, Metro Manila and I exhorted them to never give up in bringing their relatives and friends to the Lord even if they are rejected. I told them to simply fulfill their role of inviting people to their prayer meetings and parish activities, and if given the opportunity, to share with these people about God’s love. I told them not to be too hard on themselves especially when people don’t respond to them the way they want them to. Why? Simply because they are not the messiah. Jesus is. And their role is simply to introduce them to Him.
Dear visitor, how about you?
Do you feel disappointed over the fact that your spouse has yet to take God seriously in his life despite all your efforts in bringing him/her to the Lord?
Or do you feel that your such a failure for not being able to bring your children to church on Sundays?
Or that your campus ministry work has not yielded the fruits that you envisioned to reap?
Friend, stop banging your head on the wall. All God asks of you is to come after Him and do your best to fish for men and women. At the end of the day, people will be drawn to the Lord, not so much because we are good or capable, but because God’s Light has shone on them.
Don’t seek to take the spotlight off the Lord. Let more of His light shine on them. For after all, the title of “Messiah” has long been taken by the man on the cross. And just so you don’t forget…
…the man on the cross is NOT you.
Have a blessed Sunday!
In Christ, always your friend,
P.S. My apologies for this late posting. It was a long retreat this weekend and this has been my only time to write. I hope you are still blessed!