“And He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you
fishers of men.’” Matthew 4:19
Saturday, our men’s ministry (Outdoor Connections) had their first event; a
fishing tournament. Not being a
fisherman, or the son of a fisherman, I didn’t go with great hopes of
winning. There were promises, if I came,
of equipment and tips on how to catch the big one. My friend Joe has so much fishing gear he
could give “Outdoor Man” a run for their money.
hours I caught three bass and one huge frog!
The largest bass was 15.5 inches long.
It was obviously beginners luck and the great advice from a true
fisherman. It was a great time and
everyone who came enjoyed themselves.
some lessons that I learned that I think are applicable to what Jesus said about
making us fishers of men. Five things to
are a lot of different fish in the pond.
In this pond there were bass, blue gill, crappie, and frogs (not a
fish). Not every fish is the same. That is so true of the people we are reaching
for Jesus. People come in all shapes and
sizes, economic backgrounds, and racial differences. No two people have the same family history,
emotional baggage, or personality traits.
It is easier to reach people who are most like ourselves, but we must
not forget those who are different than us, because they need Jesus to
every fish likes the same lure. I was
setting my eyes on the bass, so I was using a frog lure. It worked really well, and with the right
training I was able to get the lure to hop across the pond scum to attract the
bass. But the frog lure was worthless if
tying to catch blue gill or crappie.
Each different fish needed a different lure. The gospel is the same yesterday, today, and
tomorrow, but what we use to draw people to hear the message will be
different. People who are hurting in
their marriage may come to a marriage seminar, a musician may come to a concert,
someone who needs a friend may come to fun activity, and so forth. Paul said that he was all things to all
people, that some might come to the truth.
Jesus said we are to be as shrewd as serpents and innocent as
doves. In other words we need to above
board and honest, but use every opportunity to share the gospel.
Patience, Patience! Fishing is a lot of waiting;
two hours and only three fish! I am a last
minute; want it now, kind of guy. When
reaching people for Jesus we are often in a hurry and when they don’t respond
right away, we want to right them off and move on to the next person. But intentional, relational, evangelism means
patiently building relationships, intentionally sharing your faith, and waiting
for God to move. Peter puts into perspective in 2Pet. 3:9 “The Lord is not slow about His promise,
as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to
perish but for all to come to repentance.”
fight! Real fishermen love the fight at
the end of the line. The bigger the fish
the harder they are to reel in, but the greater the thrill. People fight against the gospel. We shouldn’t be surprised. We give up too easily because when it comes
to relationships we don’t like the struggle.
But it is the struggle that makes the end result so meaningful. Sometimes people who come to Christ quickly
don’t last because they have not struggled with some of the great issues of
life, and when they come they fall away.
But those who struggle before coming to Christ understand the depth of
God’s love, and how it meets their real needs.
are slimy. They are slippery and smelly,
and it gets all over you. It’s funny
because the slime isn’t toxic and it washes off. People are messy too. They come with all sorts of baggage and
problems. Sometimes we avoid people with
problems because we are afraid they will be toxic to us, and our spiritual
health, and though we need to be careful not to be carried away into sin, their
slime isn’t infectious and has been washed by the blood of Christ.
one caught fish is an accomplishment. In
two hours I caught three bass. In the
following two hours I caught zero. But
the lack of catch in the afternoon didn’t diminish the joy, thrill, and reward
of the three in the morning. Heaven
rejoices over one lost soul found. If I
live my life without any more people coming to faith as a result of my
ministry, I have had the great privilege of leading some to Christ. I want to see more, and I am always thinking
of lures and ways to proclaim the gospel.
In the end, however, the catch is in God’s hands. I just need to be out there fishing. I’m just saying…