"Becoming Fishers of Men"
(All scripture references are from the NASB)
Earlier this spring at our associational men’s gathering, I won a fishing trip, courtesy of the Men’s Ministry at Northside Baptist Church in Laurens. The trip was this past Saturday. I was allowed to bring my two sons and four young grandsons with me. Our guides were extremely patient with my young grandsons. With our guides leading the way and the assistance my sons, my grandsons were able to catch two large coolers full of catfish. It was by far the most fish they had caught in a day. Needless to say, they had a great time.
My job was to observe and enjoy. I observed three characteristics of our guides that enabled them to make our day a success. If we are to be successful fishers of men, we need to embrace their characteristics.
First, they had made all the preparations for the trip. They had the boats ready; they had the fishing gear for everyone; and they had the proper bait. If we are to be effective fishers of men, we too must make preparation. We must make it a matter of prayer; we must make sure we have a verbal presentation backed up by a lifestyle that models it; and we must build a personal relationship with those we are attempting to reach. I Peter 3:15, 16 provides a plan for our preparation. It reads, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asked you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”(Bold print added)
Second, our guides had studied the lake and were familiar with the best places to drop our hooks. Their expertise was evidenced by the fact we caught fish at every place we dropped our hooks. It was clear we had to go to the fish and not to expect them to come to us. There may have been a day when those without Christ came to our churches in hopes of finding the Savior, but today, few show that kind of interest. We can no longer be content to wait for the people to come to us. We must go where they are. This is not a new tragedy. In one of Jesus’ parables, He said, “Go out into the highways and along the hedges and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14:23 bold print added).
Third, our guides demonstrated a passion for what they were doing. It was clear fishing was not something they did occasionally. It was an integral part of their lives. Because it was a part of their lives, it was not a burden but a pleasure. Should we not show the same passion for those we know who do not know Christ? We would do well to adopt the attitude Paul had toward his fellow Jews. He wrote, “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself was accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”(Romans 9:1-3 bold print added). If we had Paul’s passion, surely we would have a greater sense of urgency in our approach to evangelism.
Imagine what would happen in our churches if we concentrated on preparation for sharing, places to share, and a burning passion to share. While the world may not realize it, it is desperately in need of the “Good News” of Jesus Christ. God has commissioned us to go and to tell the “Good News”. Isn’t it time we got busy fulfilling our commission?