This weeks post is written by my insanely talented wife. When I first started talking about this series about lessons learned about Christianity from the men I have lost in my life this post just kind of came to her. Since yesterday was Father’s day and the post last week was about my father I think talking about my father-in-law is a good way to bookend the holiday.
A few weeks ago,my husband came to me with the idea of writing about biblical manhood and masculinity. The twist on this was that he would use earthly examples and talk about lessons he learned from them that apply to biblical principles in his life.
I immediately thought of my own father. As far as I know, my father accepted Jesus. He grew up in the First Christian Church. As a child, I don’t remember going to church with him. My family started regularly going to church a while after my parents divorced.
I do remember something that I always woke up early with my father to do. Fishing. My dad loved to fish. He did tournaments,and had his own boat. There was also a rather sizeable collection of rods, reels, bait, and tackle in a corner of our living room. I don’t think I ever went in that corner without getting caught in a hook.
My dad was a hard worker, but also loved his sleep. I remember on fishing days, however, he’d be up with the sun. I loved when I got to go too. He would make sure everything was packed. We would have food and drinks as well for the cooler that was in the boat. Side note: I thought those were the coolest things. The coolers built into the bottom of the boat. He knew which bait would catch which fish. It was something thought out and planned. I loved riding on the water. I loved watching his sonar fish monitor that was pretty high tech for the 90’s.
My dad was a contractor by trade, but I knew that fishing was his passion.
Years later, after I became a Christian, I found myself drawn to the story where Jesus first finds the disciples. I always loved this story, mainly because my Bible BFF Peter is in it.
“ While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”[b] Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.” Matthew 4:18-22
Peter and Andrew were fishermen when Jesus met them. I am sure they loved fishing, but there was something irresistible about Jesus that made them love Him and want to follow him.
When I was 17, the same thing happened to me. Head knowledge of God was not enough, and I desired to have a relationship with Him. I was actually baptized on Father’s Day that year.
As the daughter of someone who loved to fish, and a lover of Gospel of Jesus, I see many parallels. I am not surprised at all that he picked fishermen as His first disciples.
This set of verses is used a lot in evangelism trainings. A lot of my job at the BCM was hosting and leading people through these trainings. Evangelism is one of my spiritual gifts.
When you set out to win souls for Jesus, you need to think like a fisherman.
First,Be prepared. Just like you wouldn’t roll out of bed to fish without a plan, don’t roll out of bed to tell people about Jesus without one. I am not talking about a list so much as a preparedness of heart. Pray, read your Bible, ask God to soften the hearts of the people you are trying to reach. Just like forgetting to plan all the supplies you need to fish is bad, forgetting to include God in what your doing is worse.
Second, Be intentional. Like I said earlier, my dad knew what type of fish he wanted to catch. He used a fish finder to track them down. He used a pole baited for them. Sure he could have gone out into the middle of the lake and thrown a wide net. From that he may have caught some fish. Some people like to evangelize that way. There is nothing wrong with that. In my experience, I have been able to see God move in someone’s life I was trying to reach in a much greater way when I pray for that person, spend time with that person, and be intentional about sharing the Gospel with that person.
Third, Be connected. How did my dad know which kind of bait Bass like? He knew Bass. How did he know which of his tackle attracted Catfish? He knew Catfish. How do we minister and share the Gospel to people around us. We need to know them. Know their family, their struggles, their interests. We need to care about them and not just about some checkmark in our book of people we’ve shared Jesus with.
The beautiful thing about Jesus in this story is that He met Peter and Andrew right where they were. He didn’t expect them to be educated or even understand. He saw what they were doing and asked them to be part of something greater. That’s all you and I can do as well. Time and time again we see the fish and the water come up in stories with the disciples. I am not a biblical scholar by any stretch of the the word, but I can’t help but think that Jesus used this to remind Peter and Andrew of where He found them, and the abundant life He called them too.
My dad never preached a sermon. He never even read me a Bible story that I can remember. Jesus still used Him to remind me of how when we preach His Gospel that we need to be prepared, intentional, and connected.