ODJ: location matters

July 28, 2013 

READ: Luke 5:1-11, 27-32 

I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent (v.32).

During a recent fishing trip, my brother in law andI were reminded that you have to fish in the right location. We claimed a spot near a wooden fishing pier. Unfortunately, it was not a good choice. The bait fish, which attracted the schools of the desired Spanish mackerel, were on the other side of the pier. Anglers less than 50 yards away were easily catching their limit while we struggled to get even a nibble.

Jesus showed that location matters too when it comes to “fishing for people” (Luke 5:10). Shortly after recruiting some of His first disciples, He and the men attended a banquet in the home of a Jewish tax collector name Levi. At this banquet were many of “Levi’s fellow tax collectors” (vv.27-29).

The questionable crowd didn’t sit well with the Jewish religious leaders. They “complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, ‘Why do you eat and drink with such scum?’ ” (v.30). They couldn’t grasp why Jesus would have anything to do with those who got rich collaborating with the Roman government while their fellow countrymen struggled to make ends meet.

But Jesus understood that location matters. He showed His disciples that in order to ‘fish’ for people, you have to go where the “sinners” are (v.32). This is dangerous ‘fishing’. It presents the danger of being compromised by the world. So it requires a strong relationship with Jesus and deep commitment to follow Him in obedience. It also requires regular involvement with other like-minded believers. But if we’re going to share the gospel of Jesus with the world, we must be in the world—location matters!—Jeff Olson

Read Matthew 28:19-20 and see where God tells us to ‘fish’ and what we can expect of Him in those locations.  
Where is God calling you to be in the world but not of it? How can you maintain a strong and growing faith even as you’re exposed to sinful living? 
1 reply
  1. Benedict
    Benedict says:

    I agree that “we have to go to where the fish are” in order to reach out to people to share to them the Gospel. However, I believe that some Christians have used this saying to justify certain actions. It may not be wrong to “do something” or “change our way of doing things” in order to be “in the world” (eg the type of songs we sing in church), but sometimes these actions pave the way of compromise that ultimately leads us away from the Truth.

    I think it is very crucial for us to really hold fast to the Word of God as in Psalm 119: 9-11. Otherwise, our “good intentions” to bring people to Jesus may lead us away from him instead.

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