By Pastor Barry Fleming
Seale Baptist Church in Alabama
When my grandson, Samuel, was eight, he came to me with a sincere desire to learn how to fish. And since we have a small pond on the property populated by a few bass and brim, I accepted the challenge. I told him up front that if he listened and paid attention to me and applied the lessons I taught, then he would become a great fisherman. Well, maybe not great, but he would be able to fish.
A few days later we went to the pond to the spot where I had been feeding the brim from a bag of fish food in pellet form. I very gently rigged one of the pellets onto the hook, and we dropped it amid the school of brim swirling in the water. Right away, a brim grabbed the bait and my grandson wrestled the whopper from the churning water. He caught his first fish! And each step of the way, he got extensive instruction from me.
Approximately two years later, Samuel — totally on his own — captured a three-pound largemouth bass from that very same pond. After taking in all the lessons he’d been taught, he had become a pretty good fisherman!
Now it’s great to be a good fisherman. But it’s even better to be a fisher of men.
After all, Jesus called His disciples to be fishers of men. Jesus told His disciples He was willing to lead them. And if they did, they would become men who brought others to faith.
Matthew 4:19 says, “And he said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’”
Jesus spoke in the imperative: “Follow Me!” Right away, we understand the current lifestyle of the disciples would require change.
What was implied through Jesus’ words? First, the fact the disciples would need to do what He said in the manner He prescribed. Secondly, Jesus garnered a commitment. It must be voluntary. He didn’t say “as I drag you, kicking and screaming.”
Freedom in Christ’s power
Next, He assumes total responsibility for the outcome: “I will make you.” When we are serving Christ out of an obedient, willing heart and with pure motivations, we can and should always trust Him for the outcome.
The statement “fishers of men” implies His disciples will be given the ability to be used in the first step in an awesome transformational process of seeing men’s lives so changed that they too will become hooked on Jesus for eternity.
We need to be reminded that at this point, He does not give us the ability to change anyone! He changes them through the Holy Spirit, utilizing us as obedient subjects to His will to fulfill His Word and for His glory. One more very important item also comes to light: Jesus uses a diverse group to accomplish His will and all who follow are expected to participate.
Questions to consider
The next you leave your home, think about how much God loves every person you see. Think about how willing Jesus was to sacrifice for that person, to die the most horrendous death imaginable. Then ask God, “God, what can I do? Will you give me an opportunity to share Your story with someone? Will you make a divine appointment for me to share the gospel?” And then ask yourself one question: “Is there someone already in my life who needs Jesus?”