Fishers of men

February 1st, 2009

One of the Bible passages that has always intrigued me is the one where Jesus calls the first disciples in Matthew 4:18-20 (It is also found in Mark 1:16-18).  Jesus calls these humble fishermen to follow Him and they just drop every thing and follow.

When I reflect on fishermen in general a few things come to mind…

  • Hard workers – fishermen know how to work hard. They often toil for a long time without results, but they keep going out regardless. When the catch is there they work until it is in.
  • Conditions – the best fishermen know and understand the conditions. They know when it is best to go out and where they are likely to make a catch.
  • Love the ocean – I have met a few fishermen over the years who absolutely loved the water. They had to be near it and they had to go out on it regularly or they don’t feel complete. It was in their blood.

Now if we transfer these things to fishing for men or evangelism as we call it these days, we see those same traits are required for our evangelistic efforts.

  • Hard workers – we need to know how to work hard and at times toil without seeing measurable results. Evangelism is not alway an easy thing and requires persistence and patience.
  • Conditions – we need to understand the conditions of our neighbourhoods. Or perhaps putting it another way, we need to see what God is doing or wanting to do in them. Like the fishermen instinctively knowing where the fish are, evangelists prayerfully know where the ripe people are.
  • Love the unsaved – just like the fishermen loves the ocean and being on it. Evangelists need to love those who don’t know Jesus and love being around them. The desire to share Jesus is hard wired into their DNA.

When I think about the task of evangelism in terms of Jesus’ choice of words, I can see why He chose humble fishermen to do this vitally important work. He needed hard workers, who understood the conditions and who loved being around people and bringing them to Jesus for their salvation.