Summary: Jesus calls us to be fishers of men. We can learn a lot about catching "fish" if we examine how the fisherman does it.
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Pastor James May
Matthew 4:19-22, " And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him."
Jeremiah 16:15-17, "But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers. Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes."
Through the years, I have heard a number of sermons based upon the scriptures where Jesus says to His disciples, “Come, and I will make you fishers of men.” I have often looked upon those scriptures and heard those sermons and, in my shallow thinking, I knew that the simplest meaning was that Jesus was calling His disciples, and every member of the church to witness of the gospel to everyone we meet. This is, of course, the reason for this statement as Jesus was going to begin His disciples in a training course for ministry to a lost and dying world.
I believe that those professional fishermen had a different perspective than most of us who are only casual fishermen at best. In those words, fishers of men, the disciples understood that the same principles and techniques that are used to catch fish would apply in great part, to the preaching of the gospel and drawing men to Jesus.
What kind of preparations and actions are included in the “catching of a fish”?
If we were to plan a fishing trip for Saturday, we would do just that; “Plan the trip”. I don’t know of anyone who, in the middle of a work day, or when they are busy working will suddenly drop everything and leave for the river to fish without thinking even a little bit about bringing their gear and baits along.
Therein is the first point I would like to make. If we are to really become “fishers of men”, we cannot expect to win a soul if there has been no preparation or planning in advance of reaching the place where they dwell.
If we are going to bring in a “rich harvest” of men’s souls, we must prepare to be the type of witness that we need to be. There is no substitute for prayer, fasting and study of God’s Word in order to be prepared for the work.
Just as the fisherman would be unable to catch fish without a line, hook and bait, we cannot catch men without the proper equipment. Our equipment is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, etc. Our equipment must also include the anointing of the Holy Spirit that our words and efforts carry power to draw those that are lost.
The wind of the Spirit is our lead to bring us to those souls who are ready for the harvest. Every fisherman in Louisiana knows that an East wind usually means that waters are backing in and becoming stagnate and few fish will bite in this kind of water. South winds usually mean moisture coming in off of the sea and that means stormy and choppy conditions that hinder the ability to catch fish. The point is, unless we depend upon the wind of the Spirit of God to lead us to where the “fish” are ready to harvest, we won’t be very effective in winning souls to the kingdom.