Jesus said to Peter and Andrew, “Come ye after me and I will make you to become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). Jesus was making a play on words that if they would follow him, He would train them to bring others to God. The call that He gave to the fishermen by the Sea of Galilee takes us straight to the heart of Christian discipleship. Those that are acquainted with the art of fishing for souls know what Jesus came to do and what He expects his disciples to be and do!
The first step in becoming fishers of men was to come after Him that He might teach them how to catch men (II Tim. 2:15). In order to do this, they had to leave their nets and fishing boats behind. They had to give up their occupations, leave their homes and forsake all in order to follow Jesus.
Today we may not have to leave our businesses, homes, or families, but there are things we have to leave if we are going to become fishers of men. We must get out in water (community) where the fish are! (Matt. 28:18-20) The mission of being fishers of men is in direct opposition to the spirit of the world which is to use people and exploit them! Those who are fishers of men seek the redemption and liberation of all men. In the kingdom of Heaven, there is no place for “world order” where one group is superior to all other groups! In Christ there are no race, sex, age, or nationality barriers. (Gal. 3:26-29)
The second step in becoming fishers of men is to have a desire to fish (James 2:18). A good fisherman enjoys fishing. The person who does not enjoy fishing will likely catch nothing. As Christians we must catch the vision that Christ had and see people as they are in their lost condition.
The third step in becoming fishers of men is to not be easily discouraged. A good fisherman will fish all day and sometimes catches nothing but will be ready to go again the next day! A good fisherman doesn’t mind inconveniences and will get up early, drive a long way and go to out-of-the-way places to catch fish! We must have that same determination in our visitation program at Elkins in order to have the best results.
The final step in becoming fishers of men is to have the right kind of equipment and bait. The gospel is both the right kind of equipment and bait (Rom. 1:16). We can spread the gospel and become fishers of men through: (1) home Bible study (2) inviting people to attend Bible classes and worship (3) gospel meeting (4) use of technology such as iPad, iPhone, Internet, Facebook, etc.
Don’t be like the mother who asked her teenage son if he would like to have Jesus to come into his heart? He thought seriously and said, “I don’t think I want that responsibility.” My friends, if you want to go to Heaven when you die, you will take the responsibility of becoming fishers of men seriously, because we are fishing for souls.
*Reprinted from the weekly bulletin at church of Christ at Elkins from June 1, 2014.