Fishermen Who Fish
Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven,” (Matthew 5:16). This wonderful verse highlights our great responsibility as Christ’s followers to positively influence those in our community. But perhaps the best part of this verse is that it is open for us to determine how we want to achieve that responsibility. I love Jesus’ example because He spent the majority of His time in the community healing and helping others. Jesus took His ministry to the people and met their needs and consequently they followed Him. When the church is involved in the community, individuals are more receptive to receive spiritual truths. They are also more open to embracing our mission and joining us in the mission field. More importantly, the goal of community impact should not be church growth. Church growth is normally a natural result of giving of ourselves and serving the community.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Satan loves it when churches become extremely comfortable and focused on themselves because they do not present a threat. However, when churches start to make strides in serving their communities, the enemy notices and begins to cause problems within the church. It still amazes me to see how much turmoil can arise when a church is attempting to do good and work in favor of the community.
In his book In the Eye of the Storm, Max Lucado says, “When those who are called to fish don’t fish, they fight. When energy intended to be used outside is used inside, the result is explosive. Instead of casting nets, we cast stones. Instead of extending helping hands, we point accusing fingers. Instead of being fishers of the lost, we become critics of the saved. Rather than helping the hurting, we hurt the helpers.”
Sadly, the result is devastating. Lucado continues, “ … when this happens we ultimately become church scrooges [with] beady eyes searching for warts on others while ignoring the warts on the nose below. Crooked fingers that bypass strengths and point out weaknesses. Split churches. Poor testimonies. Broken hearts. Legalistic wars. And, sadly, poor go unfed, confused go uncounseled, and lost go unreached. When those who are called to fish don’t fish, they fight.”
I am privileged to serve a conference where many churches take the counsel of Matthew 5:16 seriously and have put the words into practice by actively getting involved in their communities. From food banks, feeding the homeless, providing services to homeless veterans, to 5K runs and health fairs that are open to the public, our churches have shown there are limitless and creative ways to serve our communities. There is much to be done and there are many people to reach with the gospel. However, it is wonderful that we can all be engaged and do our part. By working together, we all have something we can contribute. In her book Testimonies, Ellen White reminds us that “there is a great work to be done, and every effort possible must be made to reveal Christ; and the Lord will give us favor before the world until our work is done.”
By Lee-Roy Chacon, President