As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets. Immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went away to follow Him. Mark 1:16-20 (NASB)
A fisherman also knows what is needed to fish. It’s not just about throwing some bait into the water and waiting for a fish to take the bait. You’ve got to know where to go, the right timing, what equipment is needed at different locations, the kinds of bait to catch different kinds of fish, etc. In fact, when Jesus called James and John, they weren’t fishing but rather repairing their nets in order to fish again later that night.
When Jesus called some fishermen like Simon, Andrew, James, and John to follow Him, He used a picture that He knew they’d understand. He was going to help them become “fishers of men.”
A “fisher of men” fishes for men. It’s that simple. The goal of a “fisher of men” is to do what it takes to present the Gospel to people in a way that can be understood. “Fishers of men” are, as a result, going to “catch” some “men.” If you’re not fishing, you’re never going to catch anyone. Plus, if you’re not fishing, it’s a pretty good indicator that you’re not “following Jesus.”
“Fishers of men” work hard at their fishing. Fishing for men means you are constantly looking for ways to improve your communication skills when talking about Jesus (i.e. “repairing the nets”). The “fisher of men” knows that you must approach different people differently if they’re to understand what you’re trying to say (i.e. “different bait”). And the bottom line is that “fishers of men” learn to fish while fishing. Even a rookie fisherman catches some fish.
The ultimate goal is not just to demonstrate that you know how to fish but rather to actually fish for men. Never forget that Jesus said,
“Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”