my group gets the opportunity to create the dialogue tonite at the gathering, our faith community here in alhambra. i have been intrigued by this parable for awhile and finally get to throw it out for some more input. the parable is found in matthew 13: 47 - 50.
47 "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that is thrown into the water and gathers fish of every kind. 48 When the net is full, they drag it up onto the shore, sit down, sort the good fish into crates, and throw the bad ones away. 49 That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the godly, 50 throwing the wicked into the fire. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51 Do you understand?" "Yes," they said, "we do."
in the past, i think my eyes and my brain would have gravitiated to the last portion of the verse that talks about, "throwing the wicked into the fire". but as i have been analyzing and processing this verse these days i think i have been misguided. probably out of my fear of hell as a child or my condemning and judgmental mindset that is still hard to shake sometimes. as i read this passage the throwing of the wicked into the fire is not my job and should not be my concern. my concern and focus is to live a life after the kingdom value of the fishing net. the fishing net is cast wide and far to gather all people and give them the opportunity to become a part of the kingdom of god. the sorting of the good and bad fish is left to the angels. i am suppose to focus on casting the net.
as i pondered this parable. i think i have been selective over the years of who i think is worthy to be giving an opportunity to be a part of the kingdom. i am willing to cast the net toward those that may seem hopeful of taking the kingdom message and living by it, but those that i feel are hopeless. i may have not even been willing to cast the net out toward them. this is probably the purpose of the parable by jesus, to help his jewish followers to understand that the kingdom of god is not just for the cultural jew who is circumcised and worships in a certain way, but is open for gentiles of all kinds. i think the message is as relevant today as it was in the days of jesus.
how can i be more intentional with my life in casting the net to gather those that others are not willing to gather? so they can here the message of the kingdom. a message of hope. a message of resurection. a message for everyone. who have you NOT been willing to cast the net to, because of your prejudices or issues?