North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

    One of my most memorable activities of childhood was fishing with my grandfather. He passed away, but not before we made some fishing memories that are sure to appeal to the most avid angler. There’s a fishing story found in a passage from John 21 that always intrigued me as a child and it still has a captivating effect on me.    Some friends had been fishing all night with nothing to show for it. Their minds were perplexed, their bodies tired, and their hearts troubled and disheartened. But when they saw Jesus with a little fire built on the shore, he suddenly called out to them, “Hey, did you fellas catch anything?”

    They didn’t recognize him at first, but answered with a disappointingly, “No!”

    He told them to cast the net on the right side of the boat and they’d catch a mess of fish. With wonder and speculation, the group of fishermen did as he said and the net became full of fish. John turned to Peter and said, “It’s the Lord that speaks to us!”

    Peter jumped overboard and swam ashore to see Jesus. Time and time again, the disciples always caught fish when Jesus was near to them. He often used the net and the fisherman’s personal call to “follow him” to illustrate the greater mission of winning souls and capturing them for him. He promised then and it still holds today, that anyone who would follow him, he would make them “fishers of men”; to include women and children too. This is for any Christian who will follow Christ with humility and obedience.

    The church is to cast the net among the people in and around them. To do so is to help save them from their sins here, and bring them to everlasting glory in heaven. Jesus is the one who saves and we must bring them to him. During Christ’s earthly ministry people were healed and saved when they came in touch with him, and if we are to do our part in saving the people around us, we must bring them in contact with Christ.

    When Jesus was here physically, as well as now spiritually, men and women were usually won to Christ through a personal means. The glory of a revival of religion is that it arouses many people to go out personally with the hand net, and talk with different people about Jesus and bring them into contact with him; and then, as the people come to the church and listen to the Word, the preacher can cast the larger net in obedience to the Master’s command. No other work we can do is so great and glorious as this.

    It matters not how big a church is; its members should go forth and intentionally try to influence others to come to Christ by way of their attendance in church. If every church member could only see with their clear eyes their duty to this task and the promise of the Spirit to help them, the church would have more influence

    We would probably be surprised of how many successful people in business and the social scene are lonely inside and are filled with an inexpressible longing for peace. Christ is the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). If only we would be so deliberate in casting the net in Jesus’ name.

    A Christian man sensed God’s Spirit leading him to talk with a popular and wealthy community member about his relationship to God and heaven. He did so, but with trepidation not knowing how the man would receive it. At the close of their talk, the man expressed hope that he had not been to bold or impertinent. The distinguished man shook his hand and said, “Don’t ever hesitate to speak to any man or woman about their soul. I’ve longed for 20 years to have a sincere Christian speak to me like you have. I needed to have your questions answered by me. And I believe there’s thousands of people in this city who are in the same condition that I am; carrying an uneasy conscious and a great burden on their souls; not courageous enough to seek instruction, yet willing to receive it.”

    Think of those who have been dealing with adversity, misfortune, and sorrow. You have the answer, you have Christ and the abundant life he calls all of us to. Why not share it with those you meet?

    A lady who volunteered at a homeless shelter once had a conversation with a transient. During their conversation, she let no opportunity slip to put in an occasional word about her Lord. She told him about Jesus. She had been kind to him; non-judgmental and he saw Jesus in her eyes and face. After he had his meal, he thanked her and left to go find work. He came by three days later and told her he was still looking for work. Again, she pointed him to Christ. She heard nothing more from him until six months later. A letter came to the shelter addressed to her. He explained that he had found steady employment, had an apartment, but most of all, found Christ as his personal Savior. He was happy and hoped to be living a useful Christian life. He assured her that he owed his salvation to her kindness to him and faithful words she had spoken to him about Christ.

    The opportunities of casting a net for Jesus are all around us when we’re ready to work in harmony with our Lord. Christ expects us to help him in the salvation of souls for whom we’re praying. There’s a place for all of us in God’s Kingdom, even in our own prayers. For when we pray we open a channel in which God can speak to us. For all of us, hundreds of opportunities have come and gone. Talking about the weather, the latest news, politics, sports, and business are all well and good, but to neglect a word about what God has done for you is simply a missed opportunity. Are you doing your duty as a friend of Jesus Christ, to offer the Good News of the Gospel? May God help you to not forget to cast the net wherever Christ says to go throw it.


• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a teacher, U.S. Army Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. His “Living With Purpose” Book series can be found and purchased on www. You can contact him at:

Posted by on Mar 10 2018. Filed under Church News, Churches, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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