The parable of the Dragnet in Matthew 13:47-50 always reminds me of a day while home from college for Christmas break (now many years ago).
I felt a special urgency to share Jesus—with someone. Not really having any particular person in mind or place to go, I decided to walk the local mall. After all, the mall is a place busy with all kinds of people and, I assumed, all kinds of opportunities for an aspiring evangelist. But wanting to do it right, I knelt down by my bed and prayed that God would bring that particular person to me with whom He wanted me to share the gospel.
The mall was overflowing with people! It seemed as if the entire city of Phoenix had waited until that day to do their Christmas shopping. I had not been in the mall more than 10 minutes when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see a young girl about my age. “Are you nice?” she asked? At that moment I wasn’t sure if she was the answer to my prayer or if she thought I was the answer to hers. I responded—maybe a little too enthusiastically—“Yeah, I am nice!” She said “Can I talk to you?’ I said “Of course!”
She led me to a bench where we sat down together. She proceeded to ask me all kinds of question about myself: where I was from, what my hobbies, were. I began to feel very important! And then she asked what I was studying in school. I was sure that was my open door! I told her I was studying for the ministry. She was so impressed and asked me to say more. So I did. I told her my testimony (all of it) and laid out the plan of salvation for her, being sure to include some of my “advanced knowledge” gleaned from my Bible classes. And then just as I was getting ready to give my first altar call right there in the busy mall, she said, “Now, will you buy a magazine subscription from me?”
Well, you may have guessed it. I ended up buying a magazine subscription I didn’t want, with money I didn’t have, because… “I am nice.”
Was I foolish or naïve? No. I don’t think I was. We are never foolish for wanting to share Christ with people. The opportunities we pray for may not always look like we imagined they would or turn out like we think they should. We have a tendency to want to sort the fish before cast the net, predetermining whom we think will or won’t be interested in hearing the gospel. But I wonder sometimes how many souls have been disqualified from the kingdom because we thought they wouldn’t, so we didn’t, and as a result they never will.
With the parable of the dragnet Jesus reminds us that our call is to cast the net, God is the one who sorts.
Prayer: Heavenly Father—I will cast, you sort. I will sow, you harvest.