Summary: We can learn a lot from the qualities needed to be a good fisherman, to enable us to be good fishers for men.
I will make you Fishers of Men – but we don’t start with the Barracudas
Story: I occasionally take Bari (my Bernese Mountain Dog) down to the gravel pits for a walk.
It’s a bit muddy at this time of year and there is quite a bit of flooding down there too
I took Bari down a number of weeks ago and there were a lot of fishermen fishing in the Wreake (river).
It was they told me the last competition of the season.
As I walked by, I noticed three qualities about these fishermen.
1. They were utterly dedicated to what they were doing.
Come hell and high water (almost literally), they were NOT going to budge.
They were single minded – as many of their wives would testify!
2.They had the right equipment for the job.
They didn’t use a stick and a piece of string but they had spent a lot of money buying the right rods for the type of fishing they wanted to do.
For example fly fishing rods used on lakes and rivers are not appropriate for sea fishing where the rods have to be much studier to land heavier sea fish
3. They had incredible patience
You can’t fish if you want instant results!
Fishermen are so dedicated that they can fish for hours on end – and catch nothing. They don’t give up.
They are persistent.
Talking to fishermen I noted one final quality and that was that they generally learnt from the experience of others
Fishing is normally a sport that is not self taught.
Generally first time fishermen go out with someone more experienced – usually a young boy with his dad
In this morning’s Gospel reading, Jesus
called Peter and Andrew, James and John to be Fishers of men.
So what can we - as Christians - learn from fishermen if we want to be successful in Christian mission.
There are in my opinion four attitudes we can learn from fishermen if we want to be “fishers of men”
1. The first attitude of Fishermen is that they are dedicated to their sport
Jesus called Andrew and Peter and James and John to give up the jobs are professional fishermen on the shores of Galilee to become “fishers of men”
It called for total commitment
Nothing else can be more important.
A good fisherman is usually obsessed with his sport – ask any fisherman’s wife.
A Christian requires the same dedication – if he or she is going to see the growth in the Kingdom of God
2. The second attitude we can learn from fishermen is that fishermen get the right equipment to catch the fish
And getting the right equipment can be costly
Story: I used to be the President of a local Chapter of the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International
The FGB’s aim was to bring men to Christ
And so they would put on breakfasts and dinners in hotels.
They would invite their non-Christian friends – at their own cost – to have a meal and hear a Christian speaker tell his Christian story.
For the Christian, his “fishing rod” is his Bible.
In it, he finds the bait to land the fish for the Kingdom of God.
Just as there is no universal bait for fishing – worms won’t catch barracudas, so there is no universal way for bringing men and women into the Kingdom of God
In the Bible we have everything that we need to “fish for men.”
3. The third attitude of fishermen that we can learn from is that fishermen have incredible patience
Story: My Aunt Molly was a Roman Catholic nun and she prayed that the whole of my Father’s family would become Christians
Her bait – in fishing parlance – was her prayer
And 16 years later – I became a Christian and then a bit later my sister Sue
She could have given up praying because she could see no change – but Jesus the great Fisher of Men knew best.
4. The fourth and final attitude of fishermen from which we can learn is that of being teachable
You can read up all you want about fishing
But if you want to be a fisherman, you’ll only progress when you DECIDE to get out there – and start fishing.
It seems daft to say but we will only see folk become Christians, when we decide to start fishing.
But just going down to the river with a fishing rod is no guarantee that you will be successful
You aren’t going to be successful if you simply dangles your fishing line in any section of water.
A successful fisherman needs to know
1. where there are fish and
2. that the fish there are fish he can handle