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Be Ye Doers of the Word and Not Hearers Only

Epiphany 5 – Year C

Folks, the message of the Gospel today is short and sweet.

Jesus says, “Go get me some fish.”

That’s the meaning of our new life in Christ.

We are called to get fish.

Whether we catch ‘em, or raise ‘em, or even if they just jump in front of us by sheer grace … we need to get some fish for Jesus. Until our dying day … we need to keep trying to bring ‘em in.

It’s part of God’s catch and release program.

We are called to catch the fish – fish just like me and you – who are swimming for their lives in the waters of Chaos which flood this world. We are to catch them, so that they may be released in the holy waters of God’s Kingdom.

That’s what Jesus said.

A lot of folks seem worried more about the definition of sin these days, than anything else. It seems like we’re going round and round in this church, talking about the rules. I’m tired of that. Thank God Jesus comes to us today, not only in the text but in the Spirit, to remind us what he wants us to do.

We’re not really here to squabble, wonder and gawk about the rules of our life together. We’re here to connect people to God’s life-line.

That’s what I’m here for anyway, because that’s what I hear Jesus saying to me.

And this good work he’s given me isn’t that complicated. All I have to do is throw a line in the water, and folks grab for it.

And here’s the line: “Christ has set me free. Thanks be to God.”

This life-line catches fish.

It catches fish and sets them free.

And it is the world’s only healing. Only recovery. Only chance.

Folks, you can understand Salvation lots of ways:

For prisoners, it’s rescue;

For the sick, it’s healing;

For the blind, it’s sight;

For the dead, it’s new life.

For those who are ashamed, it is forgiveness.

For me it is all of those things, and more.

No matter what you call it – I guarantee you there’s a million folks out there who need what you’ve been given.

I guarantee you — for everyone of us sitting here who has connected with the hand of the savior, there’s a whole school of fish just like us still swimming upstream.

Friends, we are not meant to be in these holy waters alone. We are meant to bring others with us.

The Good News is that a saving relationship with a gorgeous and wonderful God is not only possible: it is available, it is awesome, and it is free.

People, we can help the world. All we need to do is put God’s line out there.

And people will bite.

They will bite on God’s line, because they are hungry. They are hungry to be connected to God.

They are dying of starvation in a world which wants to feed them anything but the bread of life.

We who have given ourselves to Christ – we are commissioned to bring them that food. That Good News. That life-line of holiness.

I guarantee you that it won’t always be easy – but it will work.

If we try, we will become fishers: of men and women, boys and girls, youngsters and old folks.

Now, there’s lots of ways to catch fish. But the master has shown us the way that catches the most. Let us start fishing for people, by doing it the way the Master did.

As I take the Bible seriously, here’s the way I believe we are called to be Christ-like:

Love God with all your heart, all you mind, and all your soul. — To me, this means framing your life around your connection to God.

This means praying, alone and with company. It means building a frame-work of God-time, God-people, God-work, and God-fun.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

This includes: jerks, Yankees, strangers, communists, fascists, and cowardly fence-sitters.

If you do these things – it’s hard but what isn’t? – you will be catching some fish.

You will be witnessing a saved life to a world that wants to see you. Because, believe me – people need you to turn the light on for them. People need you to help them see the way.

If you can live this way, as Christ-like as you can, and if you conscientiously try to do what Jesus has called you to do:

You will be fishin’ – and the meaning of your life will be fulfilled.

In Christ Jesus, everybody who follows him should have a little sign hanging from the door knob of their heart which says:

“Gone Fishin.’”

Are your nets full?


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