I have been spending a lot of time by the sea recently and have come to learn that there is a lot more to fishing than just dropping a line, or a net, in the water.
Some of the early disciples were fishermen. They knew what was required to catch fish:
- Knowledge of where the fish are
- The right time
- The right equipment
- The best bait to use
Jesus said that the disciples were to become fishers of men, and all of the same principles apply.
We need patience because people are not always going to respond straight away. Remember the story of Peter, he said, “Lord, we have worked hard all night and caught nothing.” (Luke 5:5)
Sometimes, it seems our efforts are not well rewarded. We must remember that we are not responsible for the result, it is his harvest and his work, but we are responsible to go fishing for souls.
What a difference it made when Peter did as Jesus instructed and cast the net out of the other side of the boat. He caught so many fish that the net started to break. God brought about the harvest because it was his time. All Peter had to do was be obedient.
We have all had a very frustrating couple of years, challenging and sad years in many cases. Yet, in the midst of it, God has been preparing a harvest of fish who are ready to jump into the net.
We must fish where the fish are, and today, nearly everyone is online. We must cast our net where the harvest is gathering.
Timing is critical. We know that fish don’t bite in the middle of the day or during certain Lunar cycles. So, we must fish when the time is right. The Bible says, “now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
Globally, Covid has brought about a hunger and thirst for God. Man does not have all the answers, but God does.
We must also use the right equipment. For small fish, we use nets. For larger ones, we use a rod and line. This is the same in evangelism. Some people can be reached in large groups, others need one-on-one attention.
The bait we use will also differ depending on the type of fish we are seeking to catch. All the bait we need is available in the Word of God. It reaches people in whatever circumstances they find themselves in. Jesus is the Word and he said, “if I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32)
Some will come out of fear. The Bible says, “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 9:10)
Some will come as they are attracted to the person of Jesus.
Others will come when they have reached the end of themselves and know that God is their only hope.
The Holy Spirit will draw them in from whatever their circumstances are.
Many feel they have fished all night and caught nothing, but it is time to cast the net on the other side of the boat. The time right now is ripe for a massive harvest of fish.
Fishing can be dangerous as you must contend with the wind and the waves. Many lives have been lost at sea, and the disciples were familiar with the perils that existed.
In many countries, it is dangerous to preach or evangelise. We remember the story of Jesus in the boat and the disciples cried out to him, “Lord, don’t you care that we perish?” (Mark 4:38) Yet they didn’t need to fear, because even the wind and the waves obeyed him.
Most of us have had a tough couple of years. We have had to contend with many different problems, yet, he is saying to you, “I am in the boat with you. I will never leave you or forsake you. You are the apple of my eye, cast all your cares upon me for I care for you.”
Jesus can speak to the storm and say, “peace, be still.” Though he may not have created it, he has a purpose in the storm. Like Peter, we are not called to focus on the rough seas, but to fix our eyes on Jesus. Let us be found hauling in the fish even in these turbulent times.