Summary: Jesus has called us to be fishers of men. I want to hear some fish stories of the one that didn’t get away.
By Pastor Jim May
Mark 1:16-20, "Now as he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him."
God has called each of us to be fishers of men. Just as he walked along the sea and saw these disciples going about their daily business, he walked by you and I, one by one, and called our name and made us that same promise.
Jesus calls us to leave the past behind and step into a life of service unto the Lord and King. Jesus is always looking for a few good disciples. How many of us will answer the call? How many will cast aside our own hopes, dreams, ambitions and desires to take up the challenge to become a fisher of men?
Too many people hear the call, step forward to accept the call, and then slowly shrink back into their old ways and start charting their own course once again.
But Jesus said, in Luke 9:62, "…No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." That means that we can’t turn loose of the call of God and we can never be same as we were before we met Christ, ever again.
Before you knew the Lord as your Savior and before you ever heard the gospel, you could live in sin, run with the wild crowd, and live like the devil and it never bothered you because you just thought that’s the way that everyone lived. But once you have found Jesus and been born again, you can never forget the ways of the Lord. You may not want to walk in that way, but you can never really go back and enjoy the life of sin either because now you know that there is a better life, and a judgment day coming. Every day that you are walking with the Lord, and every day that you may turn away from God, there will always be that thought of an eternal judgment in the back of your mind. You can’t shake it! You can’t dodge it! You can’t forget it! And you will never be rid of it! God won’t allow you to forget what he has done for you. You won’t have as much pleasure in your sin anymore because now you know that there is a heavy price to pay for that moment of pleasure.
Some people fall back into old habits of drugs, alcohol, gambling and running the bar circuits, but let me tell you that they are never able to take a pill, or snort a line of coke, or shoot it up, drink it up or smoke it up, without remembering that judgment will surely come. Some fall back into the party life, but every time the party heats up, they remember that the party won’t last forever and that there is a righteous judge who will call them to question one day.
Jesus calls us to be fishers of men. He calls us to cast our net into the world of the lost and then allow the Holy Spirit to draw the net in once again. We never know who will hear. We never know what kind of person the net will snare. We never know when the catch will come. Our job is just to cast out the net and bait the hook and let God do the rest.
Have you ever been fishing and managed to catch a few fish that were not “keepers”? I believe that even when you fishing for the souls of men, that same kind of scenario happens again and again. How many times have I seen a man or woman answer the call, take the bait, if you will, and tug on the line, only to shake off the hook and run back to their comfort zone in the world of sin, just when they are almost in the boat?
Perhaps your story as a fisher of men is similar to the stories that we hear from the fishermen who always like to brag about the one that got away.
It never fails that when a fisherman comes home empty-handed, he will always have a story to tell of one that was “almost caught”.