In Matthew 4:19, Jesus instructs Peter and Andrew to follow Him, stating He would make them fishers of men. Most of us have heard this, yet we don't understand its implication. We have a good idea, but exactly what does it mean? How do we fish for men?
I promise this has nothing to do with going after an actual man. Well not in that way. A crazy metaphor that Christ used, but the disciples knew what was meant. They were experienced fishermen. They knew how to catch fish. They were aware of what it takes, as this isn't an easy task. You don't decide to go fishing one day, leaving at a random time with incorrect equipment and bad bait. And you surely don't do it if you're short on time.
Jesus instructs that we go everywhere and tell the Good News (Mark 16:15). It's our duty as children of God. However, it's hard if you don't know how to do this. For starters, you must be aware of your part. Know where He's calling you. We all have an "area". It may be a specific person, neighborhood, group, etc. Look around you. Where are you now and who may be in need of hearing a Word from you? Often we think that ministry is tied to the church, and only certain persons are to fulfill that role. Not true, my friend. We are to minister to others wherever we are, no matter who we are.
Now, many of us know who. We're aware of where we're to be. We just don't know how. "How are we supposed to accomplish this?" "How do we reach them?" "What do I say?" Thankfully, all we have to do is pray about it. Pray that God would draw them to the Son (John 6:44). Pray that they come to have a relationship with Him (Romans 8:15). Pray they have a revelation of who Jesus is (Matthew 9:38). This is the easy part.
Be compassionate. There are people that are lost, broken, hurting, and alone, all because no one has ever shown them that they are cared about. We are often the only representation of Christ and the Bible that others will ever know and see. Surely you can think of someone who represents God well. A true saint, if you will. Perhaps you're to be that same way in the eyes of someone else. God showed compassion, and we should aim to do the same.
The thing is that it's not always about proving to others that you're a Christian. It's not entering a debate to declare that Christ is Lord. It's not an argument or persuasion. But just be willing to share your faith and the love of God. I love 1 Peter 3:15. "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." That alone will win the attention of others.
These things are all your bait and equipment.
True fishermen know that you must have the right equipment and bait before even heading out. You must know where you're going, so the right location is key. And it won't always happen when (and how quickly) one would like. So patience is definitely necessary.
I read something about fishing for men and it spoke of equipment, motivation, location, and patience. I want to share it with you in a compacted form.
Your faith, prayer and the Word of God can be your equipment. Compassion and concern will be motivation. Go to different areas and enter into a foreign location. And you must allow perseverance to reflect your patience.
We have a job to do. We must continue to reach those who are in need. And trust me, there are many of them. I would love to reach them all. I would love to help as many as I can. I strive to always teach and share the love of God and the Good News. But realistically, I can't do that. But I can become aware of where I am now and where He wants me to go. I can continue to do what I'm doing and make a difference now. The good thing is that as I become a fisher of men, there's another principle I can hold on to...
My Life Coach instructor said something very profound: "give a man a fish, and feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and together we can end world hunger." Truth is, I can't reach everyone. I can't do it all on my own. I cannot, in my own being, accomplish the huge task that I would like to complete. I can, however, do my part. I can become aware, be in prayer, show that I care, and be willing to share. And by doing so, I fish and teach others to fish. And if they go on to do the same thing because of what I showed them, then we're getting somewhere. And we're even closer to ending world hunger. And I would have unknowingly accomplished my ultimate goal: helping everyone.