Bible Reading: Mark 1:1-22
Some folks think that the only people who God involves in His ministry are the professionals. You know…Preachers, Evangelists, Missionaries, Ministers, and such. And while it is true that they are part of His ministry…they’re not the only ones. The Bible teaches that everyone who is a follower of Jesus is to be involved in His ministry. That’s part of what it means to be His follower. We follow Him…and what He does, we do. One thing that Jesus did was bring people to God. So, one thing that we should do is bring people to God. When Jesus met Peter, He used language that he understood…he talked about being a “fisherman”. It must have intrigued Peter, because he left his boat and his nets behind…and followed Jesus. And before long, he was involved in the most important “fishing” trip he had ever been on.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
I love to fish. I grew up fishing with my Dad. We caught freshwater bass, brim, perch, catfish…and saltwater snook, tarpon, grouper, wahoo, and sharks…just to name a few. As a kid, most of my fishing was done in Florida. As an adult I have continued to fish and have had the opportunity to fish in other states such as Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, and Alaska. I’ve also fished in a few foreign countries like Belize, Guatemala, and the Bahamas. Courtney and Jeremy grew up fishing and they have taken you guys, our grandchildren, fishing, as well. You have trolled behind a boat in Florida…and fished through a hole in the ice in Alaska. We are a fishing family.
But let me tell you about one place that I fished that was pretty special…Israel. Yep. I fished in the Sea of Galilee. And not just me, but Grandma, as well. She loves to fish, too. One afternoon, we waded out into the water along the shoreline on the west side of the lake and started casting. We fished for about 30 minutes and guess what we caught. Nothing. Not one fish. That’s why they call it “fishing” and not “catching”. But later, we went out to supper with our tour group and had fried fish. It was delicious. You’ll never guess what the name of the fish is…Peter’s Fish. That’s right. They named a fish after one of Jesus’ disciples. It is actually a Tilapia. But, they named it after Peter because he lived in a fishing village named Capernaum that is located on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee and he was a fisherman. He and his brother, Andrew, had a fishing business, together. They had two friends who were fisherman, as well, James and John, and they also became disciples of Jesus.
One day, Jesus was walking along the shoreline in Capernaum. He looked up and saw Peter (at the time he went by the name Simon) throwing a fishing net into the water. Jesus said the most interesting thing to him…”Follow Me, and I will make you a fisher of men.” A “fisher of men”? What does that mean? Well, it caught Peter’s attention. He probably already knew a little something about Jesus.
- Maybe he had heard Jesus preach and the way that He taught from God’s Word was understandable and practical. It made sense, even to a fisherman, and he liked that.
- Maybe he had seen Jesus heal the sick or perform some other miracle. He knew that kind of power could only come from God.
- Maybe He had seen the compassion and love that Jesus had for people, people of all kinds. That’s the way love should be and it touched his heart.
- Maybe he had heard Jesus tell someone that their sins were forgiven. Only God could forgive sins. That made him go, “Hmmmm???”
Whatever the reason, when Jesus told Peter to follow Him…he followed. And after all, didn’t He say something about fishing? What could be wrong with that? Wait a minute, He said “fishing for men”, didn’t He? What’s that all about?
It wasn’t long before Peter began to catch on (get it, “catch”…”fish”…you’ll figure it out). Jesus didn’t come to earth just to teach and to heal and to perform miracles. Those were wonderful things and He truly did them because of His love for people. But, they were not the reason that He came. No. He had a greater purpose. Jesus came to earth to “fish”…by that He meant that He came to earth to bring men to God. The teaching, and miracles, and healing…were ways that Jesus got the attention of people and attracted them to God. Through all of those things…Jesus was showing the people that God loved them and wanted to help them with their needs.
And get this, Jesus told Peter that if he followed Him…He would teach him how to “fish”, as well. Jesus told Peter that He would teach him how to bring people to God. That is amazing. Jesus says that God wants to include us in what He was sent here to do…to “fish”. God wants you and me to be “fishers of men”…to lead people to Him.
Let me tell you about two people. First, there is my Uncle Tiny. He was a medical doctor…and a very good. But even more important…he was a follower of Jesus. And he loved to “fish”. He told his patients about Jesus. He spoke to groups at churches about Jesus. Just about anywhere he went…he would “fish”. One day, he told his Pastor that he was thinking about not being a doctor any longer and becoming a minister. His Pastor asked him why he was thinking about doing that. He told him that he loved to “fish”…to lead people to Jesus…and he thought that he might be able to do that better if he was in the ministry. The Pastor said, “Tiny, you’re already in the ministry. Every follower of Jesus is in the ministry. And you are in the medical ministry. And because of that…you have the opportunity to lead people to Jesus who may never come to church, much less look for a Pastor. You are already in the ministry and what you need to do is ‘fish’ in the pond where God has you.” The Pastor was right. When you follow Jesus…you are in the ministry with Him and you should do the things He does, and He loves to “fish”.
I have another friend named Bear. Well, actually his name is Don…but he’s this great big burly guy with long hair down below his shoulders and a thick, long beard. He looks like a big ole’ bear. But really, he’s a Teddy Bear. He has the biggest heart in the world and he loves people…all people. He came to me one day and told me that he was thinking about going into the ministry. I remembered what had happened to my Uncle Tiny and I told him, “Bear, you’re already in the ministry.” He looked at me kind of strange and said, “Say, what?” So, I explained it to him. Bear owned a construction company…and every day before work…if the men who worked for him would show up one hour before work time and join him in a Bible study…he would pay them for that hour like they were on the job working. And not only that, once each week, he went to the jail and got men on a work release program and gave them a job for the day. But, before work…guess what they did. You got it…they joined in on the Bible study…and got paid for it. Bear was a “fishing” machine. I have no idea how many men he led to God. I told him, “Bear, don’t you dare leave the construction ministry. That is the pond where God wants you to ‘fish’.”
What about you? Do you like to “fish”? I hope so, because there is a good possibility that you know someone who needs to know Jesus. And you just may be the best person in the world to tell them. Whatever you do in life and wherever you do it…that’s your pond. Now, go “fish”.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,