“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ ” (Mark 1:17)
Do you enjoy fishing?
I’ve discovered people either love to fish or could care less about it. I’m on the former side, my husband on the latter.
However, my beloved Mark surprised me this summer with a special treat for our anniversary—he arranged for both of us to go trout fishing! We had a great time, learned about fly fishing, and even caught a few. Mark did his best to have a good time, even though it’s not “his thing.”
My dad introduced me to fishing when I was around five years old, in the low-lying Mississippi Delta. We’d get up before dawn and head down to an oxbow lake, just off the Mississippi River. There, we’d rent a metal boat, attach Dad’s outboard motor, and putt-putt around the lake to find good fishing spots. He’d fix me up with a bamboo pole, and I was fascinated watching the cork bob down in the water, indicating a nibble or a bite.
In later years, after my parents moved to be near us, Dad and I took trips to east Tennessee rivers for fishing from the banks. We were never very successful, but it didn’t matter because we were having fun and enjoying the great outdoors. My dad, who has gone on to be with the Lord, left me a legacy of happy memories.
Despite my affinity for this sport, however, I’m actually pretty lousy at it. Not so, though, for some of Jesus’ disciples—they were professionals.
When Jesus meets Peter, Andrew, James, and John, they are busy at work on the lake, tossing out nets and mending them. After using Peter’s boat as a speaking platform for crowds along the shore, Jesus challenges his new friends’ professionalism. Peter and his friends have fished all night without catching a thing (sounds like my experience). So, when Jesus tells them to go out into the deep and drop their nets, Peter disputes Him politely. You can almost hear the reluctance in his voice…the “I think we know better than You do” attitude.
Peter changes his tune when they drag in enough fish to fill two boats to overflowing, so many the boats begin to sink. That’s a lot of fish. It’s an unmistakable miracle to a fisherman…and it inspires Peter to fall to his knees and forsake everything to follow his powerful Master (Luke 5).
Have you ever thought of yourself as a “fisher”? Maybe not for the finned variety, but for people? If you’re called by Jesus Christ, you’re called to fish—to cast out a line with a taste of the Gospel.
The good news is a powerful attractant to bring others into God’s abundant life, where they can find redemption, peace, and eternity in heaven. God’s word does not return empty when it is cast out to hungry souls desperate for His grace and mercy.
Peter himself advises us to be ready, with meekness and fear, when others ask us about the hope and joy welling up within us (1 Peter 3:15). He knew all about fishing, and perhaps that’s one of the reasons Jesus selected him to be among his very best friends—Peter would comprehend “fishing” for others to join him in the kingdom.
This week, look for “divine appointments”—opportunities God places in your path to share His good news with others. Listen for questions, and throw out a lifeline of hope, showing others the way to salvation through Jesus Christ. We are called only to go fishing…He is responsible for the catch.
There is real joy in simply watching and waiting, just like fishing on a lake or river, to see what God will provide. Go fish!
Lord Jesus, call us today to be Your disciples, Your best friends. Equip us to be better “fishers” as we go about Your kingdom work. Place others in our path who need to hear about Your love. Open our eyes to see Your miracles in bringing others to embrace Your salvation. In Your powerful name, Amen.
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© Copyright 2021 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography…well, not the ones of me in this blog!)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.