Sunday, September 30, 2012

“I will make you fishers of men!”

Some people's lives revolve around fishing.  They spend hours and hours taking care of their boat making sure everything is in good working order.  They get out their tackle box and poles and make sure they are all set putting on just the right line, hooks and lures for what they want to catch.
After that is done, they head for the ocean, lake or river to fish.  Sometimes fishing is good and they come back with their limit but there are also times when they come back with nothing.  They use the same bait and hooks as they used when they were successful but this time not so much as a nibble.  There may be days where a fisherman will wait for hours before the fish finally start to bite.  Fishing requires lots of patience and lots of work.
When Jesus called His disciples to follow him, a number of them were fishermen.  They didn't do it as a hobby but as a way to make a living.  To these men Jesus came and said, "Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men" (Mk 1:17).
‘Fishers of men’ is a term Jesus used to talk about the work of evangelism, reaching out to the lost with the gospel.  He obviously used that term because there were similarities between fishing for fish and doing the work of an evangelist.  It's not hard to understand what these similarities are.  Just as a fisherman goes out to catch fish so we are to go out and seek to "catch men."  God wants us to go out and seek to win men and women for Christ.
We know from Scripture that it is God who brings people to faith.  I Corinthians 12:3 says, "...and no one can say that `Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit."  But we also know that someone can't believe in Jesus if they don't hear about him.  Paul makes this clear in Romans 10:17, "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ."
Catching a fish, I mean winning a soul for Christ, is not something we can do.  Bringing people to faith is the work of the Holy Spirit.  Our part or should we say, our privilege is to bring the good news of salvation to others.  God says that they cannot believe in someone of whom they have not heard.  
Fish don't just jump in the boat.  Neither do people simply believe in the true God unless someone share the message of salvation with them.  That's what God wants you to do.
We are not all called, like Peter and Andrew, to do this work full time.  But we are all called to be his witnesses full time.  We may not be called to be a pastor or foreign missionary but let us never forget that God wants each of us to be ready to share the Savior with those we meet.  We never know when one of these fish will take the bait.  I mean, we never know when someone, by the grace of God, will come to faith.
We all know how exciting it is to catch a fish.  Just think of the joy we would have if someone came to know the Savior through our witness! Let your light shine!  Share your faith!