“For although I am free from all people, I have made myself a slave to all, in order to win more people.” 1 Corinthians 9:19 (HCSB)
Most people refer to fishing as a hobby. It’s one of many optional recreational sports. It’s something fun and relaxing to do with friends and family. Sometimes it’s great just to get away by yourself and do a little fishing and thinking. But you do it when it’s convenient and you have some time. And don’t forget the perks of fishing. There’s nothing quite as tasty as eating fresh fish, especially if you can get someone else to clean it and cook it.
I think our view of recreational fishing often gets in the way of God’s call on our lives to be “fishers of men.” We often view witnessing about Jesus as optional. It’s something you do when you have time. We talk about Jesus when we feel like it. We’ll talk about Jesus if we think the other person will positively respond to the message. We, all too often, view “fishing for men” as simply one of many spiritual disciplines that we can choose to partake in.
That’s not how the Apostle Paul viewed it. For him, “fishing for men” was not optional. He admitted that he was purposefully limiting his freedoms and living as a “slave” to all in order that he might become the best “fisher of men” he could be. In fact, he studied all people so that he would know how best to share the Gospel with them. He said things like, “I’ve become like a Jew to win Jews…I’ve become weak to win the weak…like those outside the Law to win those outside the Law…”
“Fishing for men” was not optional for him and neither is it for us. In the same way you know that different fish require different fishing techniques and lures, so do the different people you will be talking to about Christ require different approaches. “Fishing for men” is work and requires discipline.
People need Jesus and the Gospel message will never change. We’re called to “fish for men” because most people don’t have any idea that there is hope for their condition and that there is a God who loves them and sacrificed His Son for them. If we don’t go fishing, many will perish.
What are you doing today to better prepare yourself to reach out to that one you’re planning to meet with today?