Fishers of Men
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. - Mark 1:16-18
When I think of fishing, I have the image of men leaving their warm, dry beds early in the morning before the sun ever rises. As they gather all of their gear: poles, nets, coolers filled with food, drinks and bait, hip boots or waders, extra hooks, extra fishing line, and a seat for when the ground gets too hard. Unless, of course, they are fortunate to either have or know someone who has a boat, then a seat is not necessary for this early morning voyage.
They pack their vehicles, pick up their friends and head to a watery fish-filled paradise in hopes of actually catching the “big one”.
Once they arrive, their work has just begun. They need to unload all of their gear and get situated in the “perfect” location for optimal fishing conditions. These men get their lines ready, bait their hooks, do a test run casting their lines into the water. They judge both distance and speed in which their lines can travel. Once all their prep work is finished, the sun has finally peeked out from behind the clouds.
Hours will go by before these men get a bite. They pass the time by chatting with one another, eating, enjoying the silence and surroundings, perhaps even praying. Fishing takes a great deal of patience as well as perseverance.
Sometimes these men catch a fish or two. Other times there isn’t a single bite. But one thing is certain; these men are passionate about fishing and are faithful for the entire fishing season. Even if they don’t catch any fish, these men come weekend after weekend, never giving up hope that at least one fish will be on their hook before the season is over.
In the book of Mark, Jesus approached Simon and his brother Andrew while they were fishing. These men were not doing recreation fishing, this was their profession. The Bible doesn’t say whether Simon and Andrew were in the process of reeling in the “big one” when Jesus came to them. But we do learn that both of these men dropped their nets to follow Jesus. They left the boat, the nets, their father and the other fishermen to follow Jesus. He said, “I’ll make you fishers of men.” Simon and Andrew asked no questions. They simply followed Jesus.
Jesus offered to make all of us fishers of men. When we learn of the amazing gift God gives us in His Son, Jesus, He invites us to believe in Him and receive eternal life. (John 3:16). He then commands us to “go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. (Mark 16:15).
We are not to think of the inconvenience or uncomfortable positions in which this task may put on us. Instead, we are to react as the disciples did when Jesus appeared to them from Heaven after dying on the cross just 3 days prior. “The disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” (Mark 16:20)
God is with us, Jesus has already done the work in and for us and the Spirit lives within each of us who have asked God to come into our hearts and change our lives. The Spirit is there to guide each one of us through this work, fishing for more men to love God, to accept and believe the truth of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins, then going out to tell others of this good news.
We simply need to believe that God has given us the words He wants us to say to win more souls for Heaven, and go out to tell others of this news. We are to be obedient and faithful to His work to further the Kingdom of Heaven. Even if it seems as though we have won no new hearts for Christ, we are to keep telling this good news to the world. We are to keep casting our lines out in the waters and keep trusting that God will do the rest. So grab your nets and go fishing!
Word count 750
Writing challenge: “Gone Fishing” 2/5/2007
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