Fishermen need to spend a lot of time around water in inconvenient parts of the day to be successful in catching fish. We also need to be willing to spend time around unsaved people and sometimes be inconvenienced to reach them for Jesus.
And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him. When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets. And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him. Mark 1:16-20
Patience & Perseverance
When fishermen go out fishing all day, they may not catch anything. We see this in Luke 5:4-7 when Peter Simon tried to catch fish all night, but he couldn’t catch any. Jesus told them to throw his net into the deep, and then he was able to catch a large number of fish. Not catching fish was probably a common occurrence for fishermen, but they did not give up going out there every day and attempting to catch fish.
Similarly, we need to be patient in reaching the lost. Sometimes opportunities for witnessing may not present themselves for a long while. It may feel like we have not reached anyone for Jesus for months. The truth is that evangelism takes time, and if we are going to be successful in evangelism, we need to be patient with the process. People watch our lives and take time to trust us before they open up their lives to us. Furthermore, sometimes, people may even seem uninterested or apathetic to the gospel. We can’t take that personally and assume it is a reflection of our inability to reach people. We just need to remain prayerful, hopeful, and available until such a time that a person shows interest in wanting to know more about Jesus.
Apparently, the best time to catch fish is at sunrise or sunset. That’s the time that things are calmer and the fish come up towards the light. Neither Sunrise nor sunset is the most convenient part of the day. Being out there before the sunrise means that you have to get up early in the dark and prepare to be on the water before the fish come up. Also, when the sun sets, it is generally around the time that families gather together and enjoy making and having dinner together.
As Christians, we may need to be inconvenienced before we can reach people for Jesus. The truth is that we have a famine of available people in our society. Everyone is busy with their lives, and their calendars are full of activities and appointments. Many times, if you want to meet with someone you have to get on their calendar, otherwise it is not easy to see them. Making ourselves available is going to take intentional work on our part. It may require us rearranging our schedule or being inconvenienced to be there for people.
Recently, we made a trip to the East Coast. Due to the weather conditions, we missed our connecting flight, so we had to stay overnight in the vicinity of Washington DC. I called my friend Sandra who lives in the area to just say hello. Although she just had an oral surgery the day before, she was willing to drive 50 miles to come to see us at the outskirts of DC. That was very kind and generous of her since we had not made any prior plans. I declined the offer, but I very much appreciated the fact that she made herself available. Making ourselves available is something that many of us have to work on, so we can reach people when they need us.
I will continue with this subject in the next devotional.