“And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19
I grew up in a fishing family. My mom and dad fished as long as I can remember. We fished in canals in the everglades. I was not always the best fishing companion because I felt sorry for the worms and often set them free. We fished off docks and piers, the bay, lakes, ponds and even out in the Gulf Stream.
I probably caught a bunch of little fish before my first deep sea fishing expedition. We went out on a large party boat out of Pompano Beach, Florida. I was about 7 years old. There was a cash kitty for the largest fish caught. Guess who caught the largest fish? Yep, it was me. It was a large bull dolphin. (fish not Flipper)
I loved to fish, but I was not ever really very good at it. First of all, I couldn’t be still and I had a very short attention span. I liked to cast and reel because it was active. I hated trolling, because you are stuck in one spot and I didn’t like using a bobber because you had to be quiet.
The first time I fished in a stocked pond, I thought I had found the Mecca of fishing. It was the most amazing way to fish. I was guaranteed a fish every time I tossed in the line. Plus, I did not have to be still or quiet, but that is not really fishing. It certainly isn’t sport fishing. The only thing easier than fishing in a stocked pond would be to fish in an aquarium.
When Jesus told us to be fishers of men and to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, He was not talking about fishing in an “aquarium.” He did not tell us to go after those who are attending other churches or to only reach those we like who are inactive in our church. That is fishing in the aquarium. It’s reaching those that do not take a lot of effort. Don’t get me wrong, we have to take care of the fish in the aquarium. We need to keep the aquarium clean, we need to make sure the fish are fed. We need to be sure that the water is clear. We need to make sure they are safe.
But if we truly want to fish for men, we will leave the aquarium and the stocked ponds and go to the ocean. The ocean is full of fish, just waiting to be reeled in for Jesus. Fish of all manner, shapes, sizes and tastes. You can catch them with all kinds of bait and from shores, docks and boats.
We are all too guilty of fishing in the aquarium because it is easier. It is safer. It takes less effort. But if we are truly going to make a difference for the Kingdom of God, we will be Kingdom Fishers.
Many of us have coworkers that we have never asked to church. We have people on our kids teams that we have never invited to church. Neighbors, people who serve us at restaurants. All of them are in the ocean, waiting to be introduced to Jesus.
We are coming on a time of the year when we are offering amazing things for Christians, but what a treat for the Non Christian. We have the Church Picnic with all manner of fun things to do. Bring your lost friends to church and then the picnic afterwards. Invite them to our Good Friday service and then on Easter Sunday that will be outside.
Great opportunities for us to be fishers of men…. and women, boys and girls.