Fishing is a healthy enjoyment, a simple hobby for some, and a passion for others. It is a great way for getting outdoors for some fresh air. True contentment, however, is not found in hooking on to a five pound bass though it does bring some excitement. That you had a good day on the lake and that sense of utopia that all is well soon disappears once you return home and back into the mainstream of life. Yet Jesus pointed to “fishing” to illustrate the great passion and preoccupation with souls that His followers were to have. In real life, fishing may be a pastime for most of us today, but during the time of the apostles, it was their livelihood. I think we can begin to see a few parallels from physical to spiritual life that Jesus makes. Evangelizing the lost is not something to be taken lightly or done periodically, especially not when you consider the exhortation to pay close attention to the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28b). Believers are responsible to bring the gospel message to the world in hope that some may taste of His love and forgiveness.
While Jesus said to the apostles that I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19), they were not the only recipients of these words. All Christians everywhere are entrusted to give the gospel. Our territory may be limited to where we work and live but our opportunities are vast and varied. While cottaging recently, we searched the lake we were on for underwater structure where bass could be found. In the end, neither my wife nor I were disappointed for it produced a large catch of fish. Fishing for souls is done in much the same manner. Look for places in your community where the gospel can be given such as visits to neighbours or have them over for coffee, in a nearby park, through a youth program, or striking up a conversation with people at your community garage sale. These are only a few possibilities but many others exist if you take time to consider the different venues available to reach the lost. Your church may plan gospel outings at city or local events or organize some of your own. To catch men go to places that people frequent and be willing to interact with them freely.
To evangelize, not only must you go, but you must go frequently. Many a sinner who has been reached by the gospel has noted that they had heard the gospel many times before their conversion. The Believer must be prepared to go out often to reach the lost. Soon after their encounter with the Messiah, the apostles themselves went out and testified to others that the Messiah had come among them.
Finally, give the gospel! If success is to be anticipated, then it will only happen through the gospel. No substitute will do. Earlier, I had mentioned that my wife and I had caught a fair number of fish. Our success was not contingent on using plastic and wood imitations; rather we relied on a time-tested worm and bobber combination. Once the fish mouthed the natural bait, the hook was set and the fish reeled in. The bait was the chief reason for our success. Applying this spiritually, the only way sinners can be truly regenerated and drawn to the Savior is through the power of His gospel. Christians then should not detract from giving any part of the gospel message in reaching the lost.
Believer, count it a blessing to be given such a glorious duty as taking this lifesaving message to the lost. So get your fishing gear on and get out there to tell the world about our wonderful Savior and lead souls to Christ through His gospel.