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FISHING  7'2m?f Lessons about witnessing from going fishing

BOB -- (enters carrying fishing rod, casts line toward audience)

TED -- (shouts from offstage) Bob? Bob?

BOB -- (shouts) Over here.

TED -- (enters) Oh, there you are.

BOB -- Hi. Beautiful day for fishing. (nods toward audience)

TED -- Fishing?! I thought you asked me out here to talk about 
witnessing.

BOB -- Same thing.

TED -- I'm sorry. You're not making any sense. Did you just say 
that witnessing is the same as fishing?

BOB -- Yes. The reason you're having trouble with your 
witnessing is because you've stopped fishing. 

TED -- You're serious. You really think that witnessing and 
fishing are the same thing?

BOB -- Well, Jesus seemed to think so. When he called his first 
first disciples, he said, "Come, follow me and I will make 
you...."

BOTH - "....fishers of men." 

TED -- I see where you're going with this. But Jesus wasn't 
being literal when he said that.  

BOB -- Sure he was.

TED -- You can't really think that Jesus expected his disciples 
to.... (hooks finger in mouth drags self two steps away).

BOB -- (laughs) I'm not saying that Jesus advocated taking 
people by force. But there are a few strategies in fishing that 
can be transferred to witnessing.

TED -- Alright, I'm listening.

BOB -- Well, first of all, (points to person in the audience 
nearest his hook) do you see that fish there?

TED -- Yes, that's a nice one. Looks like a blue gill. Maybe 
eight or nine inches long. Definitely a keeper.

BOB -- How do you know that?

TED -- Well, I can see it. (points)

BOB -- Why?

TED -- Why? 

BOB -- Yes, this lake is full of fish. But you can see just a 
few of them. Why can you see that particular fish?

TED -- Well, let's see. Because the water is shallow. And 
because it's close.

BOB -- If I was way out in deep water, would I know as much 
about the fish near my hook?

TED -- Well, no. I suppose not. 

BOB -- But because this fish is close, I know more about 
him than I would if I was farther away.

TED -- I think I see what you're driving at. You think I 
shouldn't be handing out Bible tracks to strangers on street 
corners?

BOB -- I didn't say that. You told me that you were discouraged 
with your witnessing. I'm saying that your chances of catching a 
fish are better if you know something about the fish you're 
trying to catch.

TED -- So, what you're saying is, the reason I'm getting 
discouraged is because I'm witnessing to strangers, rather than 
people I know?

BOB -- Exactly. 

TED -- (turns to exit) Thanks, Bob. Good advice.

BOB -- But that's just part of your problem.

TED -- (turns back) It is?

BOB -- Yes. Can you see what bate I have on my hook? (points)

TED -- Yes. It's a worm. I can see it wiggling.

BOB -- Do you think I would catch many sharks with a worm?

TED -- Probably not. But I'm not sure what your choice of BAIT 
has to do with witnessing.

BOB -- The bait we offer to unbelievers is TRUTH. It's a rare 
commodity in today's world. And people are hungry for truth.

TED -- Well, when I hand out Bible tracts, I'm handing out 
TRUTH, right?

BOB -- Yes, and because of that truth some of those people will 
become Christians. But just like fishing, you will increase your 
chances of catching a fish by using the right bate for the right 
fish.

TED -- You lost me.

BOB -- Let me give you an example. Suppose a man is in a 
financial crisis. Is he more likely to be attracted to the 
promise of eternal life after he dies or to a promise that God 
will provide for those who trust him, while he is still alive?

TED -- I see what you mean. Obviously, when a man is in a 
financial crisis, all he can think about is how he's going to pay 
his bills. To an unbeliever at that moment, eternal life is the 
last thing on his mind.

BOB -- Now you're catching on. But how will you know that a 
person is having a financial crisis?

TED -- I guess that means I'll have to develop friendships with 
non-believers... (points to fish in audience) so I know their 
habits, their depth, what they hunger for.

BOB -- Now, you're becoming a fisherman.

TED -- While we're on the subject, which Bible verse do I use 
for a financial crisis?

BOB -- Is that what Peter said "Always be prepared to give a 
BIBLE VERSE to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the 
hope that you have"?

TED -- No, 1 Peter 3:15 says "Always be prepared to give AN 
ANSWER to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope 
that you have."

BOB -- If you were a non-believer in financial difficulty which 
do you think would be more attractive to you: a Bible verse or a 
real life example from your friend's life that showed how 
trusting God made the difference?

TED -- Boy, no wonder my witnessing has been such a miserable 
failure. I've been a lousy fisherman. (turns to exit) Thanks, 
Bob!

BOB -- You're not a fisherman yet.

TED -- (turns) I'm not. What do you mean?

BOB -- Look at our friend Mr Blue Gill, there. (points) 

TED -- What about him?

BOB -- I've been dangling that delicious worm in front of his 
nose for several minutes now and he still hasn't taken the bate.

TED -- I suppose this is your way of telling me to be patient.

BOB -- Patience is not a bad virtue in witnessing. But you have 
to look at patience from the fish's point of view. A blue gill 
doesn't live long enough to become eight or nine inches long by 
being stupid. He has watched some of his brothers and sisters be 
deceived by attractive looking fakes.

TED -- Fakes. You mean like the non-Christian cults?

BOB -- Yes, and even some unloving Christians, who forget that 
when Jesus told us to be fishers of men, he wasn't talking about 
spear fishing.

TED -- I would never use force....

BOB -- Have you ever tried to shame an unbeliever into salvation?

TED -- Now that you mention it....

BOB -- Did you have much success?

TED -- (sigh) No.

BOB -- In the end, the fisherman has no control over whether the 
fish will take the bate. We have to leave that....

BOTH - ...to God.

TED -- Boy, you really took a load off my shoulders. I was 
holding myself responsible for the fish's response. I have no 
control over that.

BOB -- You're sounding more and more like a fisherman all the 
time.

TED -- Alright, Bob, I resolve that I will spend less time 
worrying about whether my fish will take the bate and more time 
offering them attractive bate.

BOB -- Good for you. (whisks Ted away) Well, what are you 
waiting for? Go fishing!

TED -- (backs away) Yeah. Yeah, I'll do that! Thanks again! 
(exits)

(audience member hooks a fish onto Bob's line, tugs)

BOB -- (pulls in line and fish, singing, exiting) I will make 
you fishers of men, fishers of men, fishers of men. I will make 
you fishers of men if you follow me....

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