Gone Fishing

Though I was born and raised in the south, I haven't been involved in many outdoors events.  I have never been hunting (deer, turkey, raccoon, etc).  I was raised in "the city" and my parents weren't ever involved in those activities.  One thing that I did pick up as a young boy was fishing.  There was a creek that ran behind our house that was filled with catfish, bass, and bream.  There were even some "unidentifiable" fish in there - that may be due to the nuclear power plant that wasn't too far away.  I would spend afternoons on end down at the creek looking for the big catch.

I still enjoy fishing to this day even though I haven't had the opportunity to do it faithfully in a while.  There's just something about getting away from everything and putting a line in the water.  I must admit that I greatly look forward to the day when I can take my son fishing and share some of those moments with him.

When I think about fishing, I'm reminded of Jesus' words, "Come,  be My disciples, and I will show you how to fish for people!" (Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17).  As Jesus was calling out to those professional fishermen to join Him on the adventure of a lifetime, I'm reminded that Jesus is still calling us to follow Him.  For Andrew, Simon (Peter), James, and John, Jesus was using something that they had invested their whole lives in to teach them about God's plan.  Jesus also shows that God was working His plan out long before the invitation was given.

I felt that Jesus was calling me to come and be a "fisher of men" when I was about 16 years old.  I had been a follower of Christ for a couple of years, but He made it very plain that I was going to diliberately reach out to people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Over the years, Christ has shown me that there's not a lot of difference in fishing and being a follower of His.

  • You have to have the right equipment. If you're going to fish for the "big ones," then a little Mickey Mouse rod and reel won't do.  God's given us His word and His Spirit to help us in our task.

  • You have to know how to use the equipment. Just because you have the equipment doesn't mean that you will automatically know how to use it properly.  I had the hardest time learning to  use a bait-casting reel.  It is important to learn how to study and share the Gospel and God's word with others.

  • You have to know how to read the signs. If the water is very choppy, you aren't going to have a good time fishing.  If you can get on the water right before a cold front comes in, it can be the best experience.  We have to be sensitive to seeing how the Holy Spirit is working in the lives of people around us and to know what the best approach is.

I remember a commitment that I made many moons ago.  I committed to tell one person about Jesus each week.  I don't exactly remember when that commitment was made, but I have been reminded by the Holy Spirit that I haven't been "fishing" in a while.  I serve on a ministerial staff and teach the Bible weekly.  Most of my messages would be considered very evangelistic.  But I've found myself here lately so bogged down with the everyday tasks that I haven't gotten out and approached many one-on-one with the greatest news ever given to mankind: Jesus paid it all!  I think it's time to go and do some fishing...

Are you intentionally sharing the Gospel with people outside of your normal "ministry" duties (preaching, teaching a class, church outreach program, etc)?