Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Fishy Story: Lesson About Competition

When my wife Pam and I lived in South Carolina, our home was near Lake Murray. This was a huge lake where one could fish, swim, ski and boating. Often the two of us would go out to the lake which was behind our house and fish.

Being the typical male, I was often competitive with Pam over who would catch the most fish. This one afternoon I had found a spot on the bank where a tree had fallen in the water. This was a great spot because every time I cast my line in the water, I caught a fish.

Not wanting to be outdone, Pam moved from her spot on the bank to right by me and my spot (she said that she wanted to be close to me, HA!). Soon, she was casting her line in the water and catching fish. At first, I was a little upset. She was in my spot and catching my fish. Then I started to realize that she was not my competition but my wife. Whatever she caught or I caught, they all were going on my table. A matter of fact, because she was fishing next to me, she was causing more fish to be lured to that spot because they knew there was food there.

It is the same with churches. I often have pastors and church members get upset when a new church plant starts or a church moves near them. They seem to say “Stay out of my fishing spot.” This is especially funny considering that here in the Nashville area there is 850,000 unchurched persons and we are considered "The Bible Belt!"

It seems that we all often forget that we all are “fishers of men”. We are not working on getting more “fish” for ourselves or our churches, but rather reaching more people for the KINGDOM of GOD! We are working together to see people become fully devoted followers of Christ.

This lesson is especially true because the spirit of competition in the church is not over souls but rather people and their pocketbooks. We often compete in our churches, conventions and denominations not for the souls of the lost but rather for the money and bragging rights of having large crowds.When this happens then we have quit doing ministry for the God's Kingdom and started doing ministry for our kingdom.
I believe that a lot of this mentality happens when a church, denomination or convention loses sight of their original mission: Making Disciples! Mission becomes survival and perpetuation of the organization. When Christ called us to His mission, He promised to provide for us to do that mission. Our focus should move from survival to the harvest field. The harvest is plentyful and there is no need for competition. To quote an old saying "There are plenty of fish in the sea."

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