Matthew 4:18-20 (Berean Study Bible) 18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 And at once they left their nets and followed Him.
One of the very first scenes in Christ’s three years of earthly ministry begins with the calling of the disciples. Standing on the shore of the sea of Galilee, Simon Peter and his brother Andrew were preparing for another day of fishing when a strange man approached them from a distance. With a single sentence, this strange man had convinced the two brothers to abandon their careers, livelihood, and training to follow Him into unknown territory. Simon Peter, Andrew, and several other disciples totally halted their own lives to do what God was calling them to do in the lives of others. The disciples never knew when or how Jesus was going to call them to ministry. In fact, they had never even heard of His name before. But when Christ called these men into action to be the hands and feet of Jesus, they were ready to respond. They stood up, wiped their hands on their pants, and followed Him. The idea of spontaneity is terrifying to many of us, much less the image of giving up our careers to follow a stranger into an uncertain future. But those of us in the 21st century have a different calling than our discipling brothers did. When we feel the heart of God pressing on us to interact, share the Word, or physically minister to those around us, we must be willing to respond. These ‘fisherman’ moments can come rather unexpectedly, especially in our always-on and hyper-connected world. So how exactly do we prepare to become fishers of men?
Know the equipment you need to ‘catch fish.’ Professional fishermen know exactly what types of things to say, actions to take, and items to purchase before ever venturing onto a boat. Equip yourself with the Armor of God, and memorize Bible verses that will help you speak life and hope into those who may be hurting around you.
Fishermen know their fishing spots like the backs of their hands. Ministry does not begin with impersonal queries, but with genuine, loving questions from a friend to a friend. Feel out your ‘fishing spots’ for opportunities to show the love of God.
Remain in prayer. Ask God for ways to embrace the people and families you come into contact with. If you never know when the right moment will be, it’s best to stay in attentive vigil to the will of the Father. Remember that you don’t need a divine sign to share the Word of God. Be bold!
Friends, there are so many hurts, so many aches, and so much brokenness in our world today. By being prepared to sacrifice our time, our nervous feelings, our pride, and even our money, we followers of Christ are ready to serve as fishers of men any time the opportunity arises.
How can you seize your opportunities today to be a fisher of men? How can you teach others to do the same? Remember that God calls us to fulfill His glorious Easter promise by casting out, netting, and gently sharing the Word with those around you. Even if the sea is turbulent and the waves are high, Christ will provide ‘fishing spots’ in order for you to touch the hurting in many areas throughout your life. Seize them with joy!
Matthew 13:47 (Berean Study Bible) 47 Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea and caught all kinds of fish. Ezekiel 47:10 (Berean Study Bible) 10 Fishermen will stand by the shore; from En-gedi to En-eglaim they will spread their nets to catch fish of many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea.