Summary: Good fishermen always EXPECT to catch fish, even if they don’t.
This is the third message from the Gospel According to Mark. I was walking along the shores of the Sea of Galilee just a few days ago where Jesus called His disciples. I got up before sunrise and went out with my Bible to watch the same sun rise over the same mountains around the same lake where Jesus walked. After the sunrise, I saw a fishing boat chugging out to spread a net to catch fish.
I was reminded again that the story of Jesus isn’t some religious myth. It’s a real story about real people and how Jesus changed their lives.
Mark 1:14-20. “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!’ As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.”
Jesus didn’t say, “Follow rules.” He said, “Follow me.” The Christian life isn’t a bunch of rules, regulations, and rituals. It is simply following Jesus. Salvation isn’t in a creed embracing beliefs. Salvation isn’t in a creek getting baptized. Salvation is in Christ.
When we follow Jesus we want to do what He does. Jesus didn’t come primarily to heal. If that had been his focus, He would have established a hospital. He didn’t come primarily to teach or else He would have founded a school. He came to seek and to save that which is lost. When we follow Him that will be our passion as well.
Fishing for men means bringing people to Jesus. Do you know why Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James and John to be fishers of men? Because they were already fishermen. They knew how to catch fish. When Jesus called Matthew, the tax collector, He didn’t tell him to fish for men. But Matthew went fishing anyway; he hosted a dinner so all of his tax-collector buddies could meet Jesus.
Jesus wants you to use whatever you already know to bring people into a relationship with Him. For instance, here’s what He might say to you according to your profession: If you’re a banker or investment advisor He might say, “Follow me and you can tell people about the best eternal investment they’ll ever make.” If you’re an Educator, He might say, “Follow me and you’ll teach eternal truth.” If you’re a CPA He might say, “Follow me and I’ll show you how to help people balance their lives.” If you’re a physician, “Follow me and I’ll show you how to practice spiritual healing.” If you’re in sales, “Follow me and you can sell the world’s greatest product – eternal life.” If you’re a builder, “Follow me and you’ll show people how to build stable lives.” If you’re a dentist, “Follow me and you can fill the void in people’s lives.” Whatever it is that you do, Jesus wants you to use what you know to bring people into a relationship with Him. So, what would He say to you? “Follow me and … you fill in the blank.”
Jesus talked about fishing for people to four fishermen, so I want to share with you five fishing tips. But you can apply these to whatever field you work in as well.
1. GOOD FISHERMEN GO WHERE THE FISH ARE LOCATED
I saw a funny picture once about a guy fishing in a large pothole in the middle of the road. It had water it, but he picked the wrong place to fish because there weren’t any fish there. You’ll never catch fish until you’re willing to leave your house and go to where the fish are.
A few years, ago, we had a professional bass fisherman in the church, Jay Yelas. Jay is a great guy who loves the Lord. We talked a lot about fishing, but we never fished until one day we loaded up and went to Lake Tyler. The fish weren’t really biting that day, but Jay was so good that he still caught seven or eight nice bass. I was skunked. I was sitting just eight feet away, but I hadn’t landed a single fish. Toward the end of the day, my rod doubled over as I snagged something really heavy. I just knew it was a whopper. When I finally reeled it up to the edge of the boat we looked down and saw that I had caught a huge…turtle. It must have weighed six or eight pounds. Somehow I managed to hook the poor turtle on the neck of his shell. Jay did a good job hiding his laughter and declared that if a pro turtle circuit ever started up, I would certainly qualify! I was thoroughly humbled but I learned a lot by watching a bass master fish.