Fishing Lessons

While church planting in Alaska several years ago, our
summer outreach event was a basketball camp held for three days in August.  Each year, we were privileged to have Randy
Shepherd and Jamie Johnson, of Crossfire Ministry, come up and provide the
training in basketball handling techniques, and presenting the gospel of Jesus
Christ to a lost and hurting community.   

At the end of each camp, we took Randy and Jamie out for
a day of salmon fishing.  And if you
think evangelists and preachers can be a boring bunch of guys, you have
obviously never spent any time with them. We had a blast!

We were fishing on the Little Susitna River outside of Wasilla, AK, where the Silver
salmon run was going on.  We had just
finished up three days of spirit filled, gospel preaching and basketball, and
everyone was pumped.  We just knew we
were going to limit out on fish and have a great time.  We could just feel it!

And then the fish began to hit our lures, one right after the other.  And they were fighters!  The guide barely had time to remove one salmon
from a hook when another fish hit!  It
was really something!  We all went home
with our limit that day!

After doing all that fishing, I started thinking about what Jesus said to two
fishermen, “Come, follow me,”…”and I will make you fishers of
(Matthew 4:19)  There
certainly are a lot of parallels between fishing for fish and fishing for men.

The expression “fishing for men” (And women too, of course) is an
important one for us to understand. We
find this unique phrase only two times in the Bible, first in Matthew 4:19, and
then in Luke 5:10-11.  Scripture also provides
a striking contrast when we read in 2 Timothy 2:26, where either we will catch
men and women or the devil will.

With that in mind, I want to point out a few qualities that make for a good
fisherman that also apply to fishers of men.

A good fisherman needs to be patient.  About
a month ago, Alice and I were in Missouri trying to limit out on largemouth bass.
 It can be a slow process sometimes.  You cast out your line.  You reel it in.  You cast it out.  You reel it in.  It takes time, and on some days, you will
catch ten fish.  On other days, you won’t
get a single bite.

Sharing our faith can be that way too.  Sometimes
people respond, while at other times, people don’t respond at all.  So when we go fishing for souls we
need to learn to wait, and to persevere.

A good fisherman must have good instincts.  Some people can just tell that a certain spot
is the place to catch fish.  They have
that fisherman’s instinct gained from experience.  The same is true of sharing our faith.  We must be sensitive to the timing and leading
of the Holy Spirit.  Opportunities often
arise at the spur of the moment.  You may
have other things you want to do.  But a
good fisherman will always have his pole and tackle box ready to go.  We, too, should always be ready, always
looking for an opportunity to be used by the Lord.

A good fisherman must have skill.  A good
fisherman knows his tools. He knows what to use at the appropriate time.  He uses certain kinds of bait for certain
kinds of fish.  He knows how to cast out
his line.

In the same way, fishers of men have the Word of God and the leading of the
Spirit for their tools.  They learn how
to use these tools more effectively with experience.  They learn by taking chances and trying again
and again.

Good fishermen must know how to work together.  When that fish is hooked, you need your buddy
standing by with a net to land the fish in the boat.

Have you ever noticed that when Jesus sent His disciples out, He sent them out
in twos?  That is an effective way to
share your faith.  As one person shares,
the other person can pray.  We need to
work together and pray for each other.

God wants to use you to be a fisher of men and women.  If you will make the effort, if you will load
up your tackle box and your pole, and go out looking for opportunities, God
will use you to not only work alongside other fishers of men, but also to have
the privilege of leading someone to Christ.

That is one of the greatest joys you will ever experience; far greater than
catching a limit of Silver salmon!

Can God change
your life?

God has made it
possible for you to know Him, and experience an amazing
change in your own life.

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can find peace with God.

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