“Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
As a child I loved fishing. All I needed to do was see where everyone else was fishing. I would go there and I always caught something.
Right before I enlisted in the Army I worked on a professional fishing boat. Our catches were pathetic. I never saw anyone fishing where we were out there. You would think that the poor captain should have learned what I knew even at a young age. You fish where everyone else is fishing, using the same bait, hooks, anchors everything.
Although I loved fishing as a kid, I can barely stand it now. I can’t handle thetaste nor the smell of fish any more as well. All those months of bobbing out in the open sea, catching nothing ruined my passion for fishing. The only thing I am passionate about now is fishing for souls, impacting lives permanently for the Kingdom of God. That is the kind of fishing Jesus was talking about in thebook of Matthew, evangelism.
I learned some valuable lessons from fishing though. These lessons have served me well fishing for souls in this giant ocean called earth. Fishing for souls is called ‘evangelism’ or sharing the Good News of Jesus to a lost and dying world.
These are some parallels between fishing and evangelism.
- Fishing is not convenient. Most of the time you have to get dirty and wet. You never smell good, and no one is impressed if you have been out fishing all day. Even if you do catch something, it’s still mostly rewarding to you and you alone. You learn to keep your minor victories to yourself, because no one else cares. Evangelical application: People will look at you weird. You find that you can never put most of your victories into words. They are between you and the creator and the person you led to the Lord. Most of the times witnessing and sharing you faith can get ugly. Usually the only one that loves what you are doing is the Lord and His angels. Show off for Him, not for man.
- Fishing requires passion. True fishermen love to fish all day, whether they catch anything or not. Time is lost, all for a string of small fish that no one really cares about. Some people even use their vacations to fish. It is extremely time consuming, so you might as well love it. Evangelical take away: If you aren’t passionate about it, don’t do it. If you aren’t passionate about sharing the good news, something is wrong and you need to fix it. Maybe the location’s wrong, maybe you’re not catching anything. Maybe you haven’t passed from darkness to light yet. I don’t know, but if you don’t have a passion for the lost, something isn’t right and needs to be changed, sooner than later.
- Fishing is expensive. Time wise, it adds up and even at minimum wage, all those hours is a lot of money. Most types of fishing cost a lot of money as well to do it right. Evangelical take away: It has a price. Actually evangelizing can be expensive, don’t be greedy. God loves a joyful giver. If you are evangelizing in a prison, you had better be prepared to help that con on the outside once he gets out or it’s all a lie. Time wise and financially most times in one way or another, there are costs. Cold evangelism in the parks, at work, all have a price. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Jesus also said to count the costs.
- Fishing can be dangerous. Mosquitoes carry diseases. They are a pain, but there are also snakes. Snakes can kill. Watch out for poisonous snake bites. Getting carried away by currents is also a risk. Evangelically speaking, you are always going to have mosquitoes pestering you. Learn to live with them. Watch out for the poisonous snakes you will come up against when you are sharing your faith. Not only resistance to the Gospel, but some people have some very ‘interesting’ theologies. Don’t worry, the Bible says you don’t have to worry about poison nor snakes. Also the biggest current you need to worry about is the current of your own emotions when you think you aren’t doing well. Don’t give up.
- Fishing is about timing. To me, without rhyme or reason, fish bite when they want to bite. Evangelical application: Fish all the time 24/7 and you are sure to get a bite sometime. Keep your line in the water wherever you go. Even if no one else is seeing you. You might catch the most memorable trophy of your life. Always be ready to reel it in.
- Quitees never win and winners never quit. This is Most important! Please don’t be too hard on yourself, and don’t quit serving the Lord through evangelizing.
So many times here we get those mosquitoes, or snake attacks. We get sucked into feeling sorry for ourselves or becoming bitter. Costs are unbearable a lot of the time. There is no way we can make the expenses match what we have in hand, but God is always faithful… at the last minute usually but always!
Passion and enthusiasm wan, they come and go, but God will give you that needed ‘win’ when you need it.
Trust Him and know How much He loves you. It isn’t convenient, and most times evangelism is downright gnarly at first.
Just don’t quit.
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance