And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
When I was a little guy, my family used to take vacations at a little cabin in Ruidoso, New Mexico. One of the things we always used to look forward to was trout fishing. My dad would take my brother and me to a little trout farm that had some ponds, and we’d each get cane poles and a little cup of corn. He’d bait our hooks with a piece of corn, and we’d dip the line into the water where hundreds of hungry trout waited for a corn dinner. After maybe a minute, we’d have a tug on the line, and if we pulled up the pole just right, we’d have trout for dinner.
It was always a lot of fun for us, but the one drawback to fishing that way was that it didn’t paint a true picture of how hard fishing really is. Fishing requires patience and timing. You have to know where to look for the fish, and you have to be willing to wait and wait until one takes the bait. And then you have to have the patience to reel the fish in without breaking the line. It’s hard work, but it’s rewarding when you catch the big one.
For the fishermen who followed Jesus, fishing was even harder. It involved the casting of nets, and they had to be experts at knowing where to cast. Fishing was their livelihood, and empty nets equaled empty pockets and empty stomachs. Jesus approached these men who spent their lives pursuing fish and gave them a new opportunity – put that same patience and timing and effort into catching souls for Heaven.
It’s the same deal he offers us today. Those who follow Jesus are called to “fish” the world for others who might believe and follow the Lord. Ours is not a faith that’s meant to be held tightly to ourselves. Instead, we are expected to share our faith and invite others to be a part of the Kingdom of God. It might not be as easy as baiting the hook with corn. It will likely take some patience and timing, because some (maybe even most) “fish” don’t want to be caught. But the effort is always worth it when even one soul is added to the rolls of Heaven.
This week, think about someone who you might “fish” for, and pray that the Lord will give you opportunities to share the Gospel with them.
Reflection copyright © 2017 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.