“Come follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” – Matthew 4:19
When my sons were small, I rediscovered fishing. I say “rediscovered,” because the first time I took my older son (now a college student) fishing, it had been almost a decade since I had been. I not only had to rediscover the ins and outs of fishing, I had to relearn many things that had not been a regular part of my life for a long time.
I also had to relearn the kind of patience it takes to prepare, to cast your line, and to wait—sometimes hours—for even a nibble. The lesson in patience was multiplied by two very active little boys who were more exciting about “catching” than about the long process of waiting!
When Jesus encountered and called fishermen, He had some re-teaching to do. They thought they knew all about fishing. But Jesus was going to raise their fishing to a whole new level. He was going to show them how to apply the skills of their profession to the journey of being a witness for the kingdom of God.
The best kind of fishing was yet to come.
The disciples had to learn how to apply what Jesus had taught them to “fish” for new believers. We must, like the disciples, relearn a few things.
First, we have to relearn patience, since “fishing for people” (sharing the gospel) begins with building relationships, spending time listening to others, and giving of our time in service and in conversation.
Second, we have to allow Jesus to lead us to the best spots. The places and times are just as important as the equipment we have. The best fishing gear used in the wrong spot and in the wrong time of the day produces nothing. However, even the simplest fishing gear and bait in the right place and time can bring about incredible results.
My boys are both strong fishermen now. They are patient, they are aware, and most of all, they like the whole process of fishing. They appreciate being prepared and in place for something great to happen.
When we move out into our world to be “fishers of people,” we learn to love the Master Fisherman, who teaches us to love the process of building the kinds of relationships that draw people to God and to His kingdom.
This week, is it time for us to dust off our fishing gear and follow Jesus into new waters, so that the kingdom may continue to be built?
Prayer for the Week:
Lord, this year we pray for:
greater love for the lost,
deeper compassion for the broken,
stronger faith in Your saving power,
bolder witness to Your presence,
believing that the kingdom is advancing. In Jesus’ name, Amen. (Fred Drummond)
Charles W. Christian is managing editor of Holiness Today.
Written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today.