Jesus once lamented that the sons of this age are shrewder in relation to their own generation than the sons of light (Luke 16:8). In other words, people of the world have more initiative toward worldly things than Christians do toward heavenly things.
Consider a man who wants to catch fish. He does not expect fish to swim up to his door and invite themselves in. He is realistic. He’ll buy ample equipment: a rod and reel (likely several), hooks, a net, a bait bucket, a stringer, all sorts of tackle and a deluxe box to keep it in, a hook remover, a cleaning knife, and anything else he thinks might be useful. He will probably borrow some money and buy a boat. He’ll read books on fishing, watch those fishing shows on TV, and might even go to fishing college (yes, there is such a thing). He’ll start keeping track of the tides. He’ll talk to other fishermen about the best spots to go.
Do you suppose he will give it all up the first time he comes home empty-handed? No way — he’ll just go out earlier the next time! No matter how busy a fisherman is, there is always time for fishing. He will ask his buddies to go with him. And when he snags a big one will he keep it a secret? You know better.
There are Christians who say they want to learn more of God’s word. To accomplish this worthwhile goal they devote a whole thirty minutes per week listening to a preacher! Why don’t they get up an hour earlier or set aside Wednesday evening for Bible Study? Evidently they don’t see much value in that. And when these same folks have no money for books, periodicals, and other study aids, and no time for daily reading, it is little wonder that the fish aren’t biting.
Are you having trouble with a certain temptation? Get help. Talk to others. Talk to God. Read His prescription. Stay away from circumstances where that urge is the greatest. You don’t have to worry about saltwater fish in a freshwater lake.
Want to convert your neighbor? Set a good example. Ask him to come to church with you. Ask him to study with you. You might begin by asking him to tell you about his beliefs. Give him some literature or subscribe to a good magazine for him. You won’t catch a thing unless you throw your hook in.
Here is a young brother who thinks he might want to serve as an elder some day. What should he do? Objectively analyze his character and work on deficiencies. Learn well the word so he can hold it faithfully. Listen to older brethren that his judgment may mature. Develop his skills as a teacher by watching, listening, and doing. Pay close attention to his family. Be hospitable. Work with people. Be careful to protect his reputation. Pray. When the time comes to cast, he’ll be ready.
Heavenly goals merit thought, careful planning, enthusiasm, hard work, and whatever sacrifice of time and money is required. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
by Frank Himmel
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