Recently the Information Technology department where I work sent an email noting it was time to take Annual Security Awareness Training. The module helps me discern spam sent by shady groups who want to “get me.” The spammers hope that a percent of the millions of emails they send will get opened by unsuspecting recipients so spammers can pitch a promise, utter a threat, or sneak a virus. In tech talk this is “phishing.”

Sometimes I find myself guilty of the same. At Christmas time I send an e-greeting to several hundred people to give an update and build relationships. In another role, I send 150 emails to churches to attract attention and develop partnerships. In both cases, I hope the recipients trust me enough to open the email and read my message. I want to “get them.”

Do you think this was the way Jesus fished for people? To be sure, sometimes he spoke to the masses and let his disciples manage the loaves and the fish. However, so much of Jesus’ ministry was up close and personal. Consider his lively supper with Zacchaeus, his walks-and-talks through fields of grain with his disciples, and his one-on-ones with the woman at the well and Nicodemus. In response you might say, “Well, of course, he didn’t have email.” But consider leaders at the time who sent impersonal edicts throughout the empire by town criers announcing taxes or decrees or gods to worship. Not Jesus.

Fortunately, I have this figured out, some. I met with a friend last week. He is a Christ-follower who made poor choices that currently challenge his marriage. We walked and talked for two hours. I heard his story, his journey of healing, the pain, and hope. While I thought I was the one fishing, I came away caught up in God’s love too. 

Dear God, you have called us to fish for people. Help us to connect deeply — not superficially — so people may be encouraged, and may we be open to your love along the way. Give us strength to invest time and energy in people emotionally and spiritually. Give us opportunities for long walks along the shore.

Throughout This Day: Consider the opportunities God is giving you to connect with others in even small ways. The briefest of conversations can show care and concern for people, and you can be Jesus to those who hurt or feel on the margins. 

Tags: Daily Devotional Mark 1
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