Fishing for fish requires some type of equipment, and fishing for people even more so. Either way Fisherfolk need a “hook.”
To catch your readers' attention:
Ask a pertinent question. Possibilities vary, depending on the audience, topic, and need, but for starters, consider the worries, complaints, and unpleasant subjects that often worm their way into a conversation. Then go from there.
For instance, how do we deal with greed? grief? grievances? guilt? gullibility? – our own or someone else’s. Such questions can hook readers quickly, but it takes research and credibility to reel them in (or rock the boat!)
Make a startling statement. Jesus did this when trying to get through to the Pharisees, who could see but not deeply. For example, “It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a person who has everything to enter the Kingdom of God,” Mark 10:25.
Consider the lily pads in your fishing spot. Go below the flowers and the surface to anchor deep. For example, Jesus’ wise words “Consider the lilies” might bring to mind the poetic adage “Gather ye rose buds while ye may” or “Stop and smell the roses,” which overworked pastors might need to hear.
Similarly a field of lilies blooming profusely might remind readers that God does indeed provide without expecting them to work themselves into a worried frazzle. If you look closely at the shape or structure of an individual lily, you might also notice the quiet beauty of their trumpets and what that suggests for readers open to your deep see.
Get wise. Get a Bible. Almost any Bible that speaks your language will do in helping you to find a fitting voice for the godly wisdom that draws people to Christ.
This is not the same as saying whatever floats up or sounds deep when expressing shallow opinions. Even if such sayings have some basis in wisdom and truth, the deeper wisdom and truth of biblical saying add impact and depth.
Say, for example, I tell you in my most convincing voice, “God will celebrate and sing because of you!” Even with good timing for such a statement, your response might be, “Oh, yeah?” But don’t those same words have a more powerful impact if you know Zephaniah 3:17 said them first?
© 2012, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved, but pass it on – especially that quote from Zeph. Don’t you just love it! Here’s the whole verse in other English voices:
“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing,”
Zephaniah 3:17, KJV (King James Version.)
“Hashem thy G-d in the midst of thee is gibbor; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with simchah; He will quiet [you] in His ahavah (love), He will joy over thee with singing,”
Zephaniah 3:17, Orthodox Jewish Bible.
“ADONAI your God is right there with you,
as a mighty savior.
He will rejoice over you and be glad,
he will be silent in his love,
he will shout over you with joy,”
Zephaniah 3:17, Complete Jewish Bible.
“The LORD your God
wins victory after victory
and is always with you.
He celebrates and sings
because of you,
and he will refresh your life
with his love,”
Zephaniah 3:17, Contemporary English Version.
(c) 2012, Mary Harwell Sayler.