“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” – Mark 1:17
Ahh – the adventures of fishing. It’s a good family project, especially when the kids are young. When our boys were in elementary school, fishing became a family project. This was good family time. We drew the attention of onlookers because our brood looked like a small army lined along the bank of the river.
Our refrigerator not only held groceries, but way in the back was a plastic container inside a zip lock back, inside ANOTHER, zip lock bag. Contents? You guessed it, worms.
The boys seemed to enjoy the time we spent fishing. At least we thought they did. Three of our boys were fish magnets. All they had to do was drop a line in the water and they were snagging blue gill as fast as we could bate the hooks. Our third child, however, rarely caught a thing. In the beginning, he was excited anytime anyone caught a fish. He was the first to drop his rod and run to help take the fish off the hook and throw it back. As time passed, he became frustrated. “I never catch anything.”
We’d have him trade places with one of the boys who was catching fish, and still nothing. However, he kept trying. One day we were loading the car to take the boys to fishing when our son vanished. “Go get your brother and tell him we’re ready to go.” Suddenly we were two kids short. Everyone climbed into the car and Tim began to toot the horn. After five minutes or so, I climbed from the car and headed into the house. Downstairs sat Cameron and Justin, hammer and nails in hand.
“What are you guys doing?”
“Building a fish trap to catch a fish.” That was the last day we went fishing. There was no way, I planned on standing on the shoreline tossing a wood box with a rope tied to it into the lake. Our son was determined to catch a fish, or a fresh water lobster (so he said).
Jesus didn’t have to beg the men He approached to follow Him. He offered them a simple pledge, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Is that cool or what? Suddenly their nets seemed unimportant and the words of the Master burned into their hearts. They willing dropped what they were doing and followed. There was no how comes or waits, they simply followed.
I sometimes think the Christian is becoming extinct. We are not fishing like we should be. Men are trying to build boxes to lure people in instead of fishing for the souls of men. I’m all for family settings in the church, but there is a fine line between worship and entertainment. If we have to bribe families with fine entertainment and food just to get them in the door, then I have to wonder – where is our evangelism? It’s not always the number we recruit, rather it is soul of the fisherman. Having buildings full of attendees is worthless if they are not touched. Each person who walks through the doors of the church should be met, welcomed, loved, and taught fully. They need to examine their hearts, and be challenged, then encouraged, and finally, saved. I sometimes wonder if we are losing sight of this task Jesus exemplified. I’m not saying activities in the church are wrong. I enjoy a good picnic as well as the next guy. What I am saying, is do we make the gallant effort to bring Jesus into the hearts of our congregation, or do they go home simply entertained. The ultimate question becomes, “Do you fish these days?”
Prayer: Lord, give us guidance and ability to be fishers of men.