Fishing is one of my favorite things to do. As a kid, I used to wake up early on Saturday mornings, and my dad and I would head out to the lake with hopes of catching a boat full of largemouth bass.
Several of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen. Simon (Peter) and Andrew and the sons of Zebedee, James and John, all fished for a living. Then, one day, Jesus was walking by the shores of the Sea of Galilee and called the four fishermen to follow Him. We read about it in Mark 1:16-20 (NKJV).
“…He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him. When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James…and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets. And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee…and went after Him.”
But what does it mean to become a “fisher of men”? Essentially, it’s a call to evangelism. Jesus took something that these four men were very adept at and made it their calling. Rather than bringing fish into the boat, these four men would be bringing people to Christ.
Now I can tell you from experience that fishing is not easy. It takes patience, understanding, experience, persistence, determination, and a willingness to come up empty. There are some days, no matter how long you stay at it, that you just don’t catch a single thing.
Evangelism is like that. Not everyone you speak to about the Gospel will immediately turn their life over to Christ. But we’re instructed to keep at it. Somedays are more difficult than others.
There’ve been times when I pack the car with my rods and tackle box, get a good night’s sleep, set the alarm for five o’clock, and hit the water before the break of dawn. But despite my best efforts, the fish just might not be biting that day.
You can do everything right, and still not win someone to Christ. But we’re called to fish. Don’t allow one bad day at the lake to ruin your love for fishing. In the same way, you must not let one person who doesn’t receive the message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ ruin your zeal for evangelism. Go fishing.