Fish Stories; Musings on Fishing for Men
And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me and I will make you become fishers of men.” – Mark 1:17
One of Jesus’ favorite teaching tools was the use of the metaphor. In our passage above, He compares sharing the gospel to fishing. In one of his famous “Follow Me” statements, he challenges the disciples to understand their true calling. With our Lord’s words in mind, let us launch our nets into the deep by comparing the physical act of fishing to our spiritual responsibility of fishing for men. Here are six fishing tips to hook on our spiritual rod and reel.
To begin with, you need to enjoy fishing. Good fishermen love fishing, because it is a joy, not a chore. Personally, I have never enjoyed fishing. I have gone a few times, but found it to be somewhat boring. That might be one of the reasons why I never really had much success; I just did not enjoy my time on the lake. This applies to evangelism as well. A person with a heartbeat for evangelism will enjoy sharing their faith. This only happens when a Christian sees sharing their faith as a privilege and not a duty.
Secondly, you need to have a love for fish. As Christians, we should love all people, and have a genuine concern for their spiritual well-being. Millions of people are aimlessly swimming in a sea of hopelessness, hoping to hook onto something that will satisfy their souls. As Christians, we have the answer, and we are to love people with the love of Christ.
Third, it would be helpful to actually go where the fish are. A good fisherman will know where to go to catch fish. They know the coves and off-shoots where many of the fish reside. This principle applies to evangelism. If we are to be fishers of men, we must venture out of our Christian bubble and have contact with those who are in need of the gospel. It would be good for all of us to remember that Jesus hung out with sinners (Mark 2:13-17).
Fourth, you need to be patient. Fishermen are known for patience. Many professional and commercial fishermen end up with empty nets. Yet they are patiently persistent in their work. And so it is in the sea evangelism. Oftentimes we cast our evangelistic nets without success. Yet we must remember God has not called us to be successful, he has called us to be faithful. And so our witnessing endeavors must be saturated in a pool of patience.
Fifth, be sure to stay out of sight. A wise fisherman will do everything he can to stay out of sight from the fish he is attempting to catch. If he is loud and the fish are aware of his presence, the fishing trip will be unproductive. The truth can be said about witnessing. To be an effective witness for the Lord, we must stay out of the way and let the Lord to the work. Witnessing is not about us, it is about God.
Finally, be sure to remember you only catch them; God cleans them. Once we have been faithful with the task in sharing the gospel, and we have been blessed with the joy of leading someone to Christ, it would be good for us to remember that we are simply called to be the fishermen. The Holy Spirit of God does the rest. This is not to suggest that discipleship is unnecessary. If the opportunity permits, we should do everything we can to come alongside the new believer and assist them in their spiritual development. But it is not our responsibility to do the work of the Holy Spirit. We simply catch the fish and hand our nets over to the Lord.
I pray that these fishing tips serve as a help in your witnessing endeavors for the Lord. Ponder these truths today and ask God to weave these principles into your spiritual net.