In the books of Matthew and Mark, Jesus tells Simon and Andrew that if they follow Him, He will make them “fishers of men.” Why would becoming fishers of men be of interest to a couple of fishermen? They were fishers of fish! And just how does one go “fishing” for men anyway? What bait should be used? How big would the hook have to be? Herein lies the story of one such man, or should I say “fish,” and just how it was that Jesus was able to catch him.
As a fisherman myself, there are several things you need to know in order to have a successful fishing trip. Without knowing what you are fishing for, how can you possibly succeed? The following is a short list of things one needs to know in order to catch fish.
- Know where the fish are.
- Know what equipment you will need.
- Know what fish like to eat.
- Know when fish like to eat.
- Know how to “present” the bait…the lure.
I have discovered that fishing for men is no different than fishing for fish. You don’t even need a license! And you can fish for them year round! In season and out of season. You just can’t keep them or fillet them. It’s strictly catch and release.
When God set out to “catch” me, He knew everything about me. My deep, dark secrets, all of the mistakes I had made. He knew what things interested me. He knew the things I craved and the things I thought about when the lights were out and I was all alone. Points 1, 3 and 4 in the list above were already taken care of. He still needed Point #2 though…the right equipment.
Enter a good-looking, well-constructed woman onto the scene. Right equipment? Check! Presentation? Check! God had everything in place to catch me and I was totally oblivious to what was going on. I couldn’t even see the hook! That’s because The Holy Spirit cannot be seen.
Unbeknownst to me, the new friend in my life was a Christian. And she was fishing, just like Jesus had taught her to do. And NOT the way the world teaches.
The day of my transformation was January 15, 2006. I was sitting in church with my wife, the result of a guilt trip my new friend had laid on me. Or should I say the Holy Spirit did. I heard a message that day from the pulpit that was exactly what I needed to hear and I became a believer in Jesus Christ right then and there.
Psalm 37:4 says:
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
That is SO true. One of the first things I felt convicted about when I came to believe was not being a godly father to my children. I had failed them AND God in my opinion. But God is a God of many chances. And what do you think He would have me do? How about a volunteer with a youth group. My children were grown and out of the house but suddenly I had dozens of kids to guide and mentor. It was perfect. It was SO God.
Many wonderful relationships came out of the time I spent with those kids. And God was true to His promise. He gave me the desires of my heart. Both of my kids now go to church each week with their spouses – a blessing indeed! Do they believe? I can’t tell that, only God can. But the chances sure a better sitting in a pew rather than a recliner at home!
There is great joy in becoming a fisher of men. You should try it some time. I did. Oh, how I love to watch God pursuing these young people! They are a tricky fish to catch but God is a pro angler. He can even catch fish using old rusted equipment like me – a grandfather” to the next generation.
– John 21:3-7