When I was little, my family used to go fishing once in a while. I don't remember much about it, but I didn't catch my first fish until I was 7 or 8. I do remember trying to catch crabs with a bucket and net.
People in the Bible days, in particular, Peter, John and James went fishing much more often than I ever did, because they did it for a living. There were times when they would go out and catch nothing. No fish were biting. Maybe the fish were there but weren't hungry? Or maybe the fish caught onto the tricks of the fishermen and weren't going to fall for them again! Whatever the reason was, these fishermen were unsuccessful at times with their fishing. Of course, one of those times, Jesus came to the rescue and caused many fish to come into the fishermen's nets, that the fishermen were in awe because of what had just happened to them.
Jesus said "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men". If we are following Jesus, part of the process is learning how to fish for men. As we grow spiritually, we will find ourselves growing in the area of evangelism and reaching people with the Gospel.
But what happens when we go out to evangelize and the 'fish' aren't biting? What should we do if we are at a place where there are a lot of people, but they seem to understand that you are passing out tracts and they don't want any? We experience this a lot, but not always, on Park Avenue. The groups of people who stroll down Park Avenue are varied. There are some poorer sections of the town on the other side of the railroad tracks. But almost everyone strolling on Park Avenue is either a middle-aged to older woman, an older couple, rich college kids, or people that are from another country altogether. Most of the people kindly reject the tracts. Some have been irritated because of my offer of a tract. I've gotten lectures from people about why I shouldn't be doing what I am doing. I have also had some people who were professing Christians who were happy about what I am doing. So there is a mixture, but mostly an indifferent response. So, are the fish biting here? Not so much. Once in a while I get a good bite though. I have had some good conversations about the Gospel with a few people here and there. I have even been able to meet people and make friends there. So what is my point?
I don't see much fish activity there. I have two options. I can keep going there and eventually I will probably get a good catch, or, I can look for another place to go that might have more people who will be open to the Gospel. Waterford Lakes was a wonderful place to talk to people about the Gospel. In the small amount of time I was there, I had more conversations with people open to the Gospel than anywhere else I think. I could risk getting caught again and maybe they would never let me go back there ever again. Or I could end up in jail. Then I could evangelize the people in the jail cells around me.
Jail ministry. That sounds mysterious, but I am intrigued by the thought of it. On an easier scale, maybe we could evangelize juvenile delinquent places. In a town where I live, you would think that there would be some place where the fish are biting. Perhaps it is just in a store parking lot south of where I live (people are more open to the Gospel south of here). Maybe we need to look for quality, not quantity. If any of my readers have places where they know the fish are biting, please post them here. I would love to find where those places are.
"Getting into one of the boats, the one which belonged to Simon, he asked him to put out a little from the shore. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, (“Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon replied, “Master, (F)we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And after they let down the nets, (G)they enclosed a huge number of fish, and(H)their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. (I)And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, (J)“Go away from me, for (K)I am a sinful man, O Lord.”