Posted by: everynation | March 5, 2007

Do you smell like a fish?

by Mike Watkins

watkins.jpgI went snorkeling with my daughter a few weeks ago, and we found ourselves surrounded by a world of coral, sponges, exotic fish and a very pretty sea snake which was our cue to visit land from whence we came. Over 20 years ago I snorkeled almost every week when I was serving in the US Air Force in Florida. I thought that I would have the same agility as then when I recently took the plunge again, but I realized how strange the sea was to me as I got vertigo and fatigued.

Christians who have been saved a long time really have trouble with evangelism for the same reasons. They have not been fish for a very long time. In fact, they might not even know any fish! Even worse, they forget they were fish at all, or worse still they ask, “What is a fish?” (Fish: all those unsaved people around us who are so close that the most probable person to reach them is us.)

We sometimes seem a bit alien to the lost around us. “Yeah, the aliens abducted Mike the other day. Haven’t seen him since then.” This happens when we only focus on individual conversions without further discipleship that eventually affects entire families and societies.

How then do people get saved? Does their car break down outside of our church Sunday morning? Oh the methods that we could talk about until we were tangled in fishing line. How did I even get saved? Someone cared to share. Let’s begin with the heart.

* We need to love the lost enough to want to reach them. A church that loves the lost will grow regardless of clumsy outreach methods. However, the best equipped church with no heart for the lost is as powerful as a Ferrari without gas.

* People need to see our concern for them by actions of caring rather than persistent invitations to events. Instead of gathering Christians at the church picnic, invite your neighbor over to grill a burger.

* Finally, we need to have an awareness that the only thing that keeps us above water is the grace of God. Yes, we still smell like fish sometimes to those around us. We were once lost and without hope.

Mike Watkins is a missionary, a fisher of men and the author of the blog “Simple Truths.”

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Responses

  1. understandably, i’m reminded of one of my favorite movies – finding nemo! the tale of how a father went to great lengths to find his wayward son despite the obstacles he faced – crazy blue fish who tagged along, school of sign forming silver fish, surfer dude turtles, a trip to the belly of a whale, bruce the great white and his posse, among others.

    we should go where the fish go and do what the fish do, within reason, to reel them in. after all, someone did the same for us.

  2. Thelma, thanks for the comment. I just watched that movie again the other day with my youngest daughter. Dori cracks me up as well as the seaguls who say, “mike, mike, mike.” Is that waht they are saying? Also, fish hold their breath before leaving the water. Is that waht people do when they visit church? Hope not.

  3. hey mike — sorry to burst your bubble, but i think they are saying “mate! mate! mate!” but you make another good point — i hope people don’t have to hold their breath when they come to our churches…! :)

  4. Lynn, Abbi says they are saying, “mine, mine, mine.” Sounds like we have the start of a good philosophical debate!


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