Fishermen understand that to be successful in fishing, they need different kinds of baits depending on the type of fish they are trying to catch. Similarly, when we try to reach people for Jesus we need to be sensitive to people’s needs and not assume that every person can be reached the same way. The Apostle Paul said that he became all things to all people, so they can be saved (See 1Corinthians 9:22b).
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
It takes faith
By the sheer fact that fish live in water, the majority of the time they are hidden from sight. A fisherman goes fishing with the hope and expectation that there are fish to be caught and makes attempts to use the right kinds of baits to lure the fish.
Many times we don’t know who is ready to hear the gospel and be reached for Jesus. In some ways, those individuals may not be visible to us or we may not think of certain people as ready to be saved. It requires faith and hope on our part to wake up every morning with the expectation that someone could be hungry to hear the truth today and be on the lookout for them.
Being sensitive to the needs of each person
Each person comes with their own personality, background, and needs. We can’t approach each person the same way and expect to get the same results. Just as the fishermen consider the right bait for the right kind of fish, we also need to be sensitive to discern who we are dealing with.
For example, some people are very independent and they do not want to get close too fast. If we are not sensitive to it, we may push them away. On the other hand, there are others who really need the relationships to feel loved and accepted before they open up to us. Others have been hurt and do not trust most people. For them, it’s going to take a long time to feel they can trust someone with their needs.
It’s not about us
We all come with different personalities and strengths, and the Lord uses them to reach the lost. However, to be effective in evangelism, we need to be cognizant of the fact that it is not really about us, but it is about the person we are reaching. Different people will hear and receive the message differently, and we need to remain flexible and discerning to know how to be effective in reaching them.
For example, I enjoy teaching and breaking the Word down to help God’s people to understand it easily. But I can’t do that with an unbeliever for that could be overwhelming to them. However, I can share some truths that help them see God’s plan for humanity and what Jesus came to do for us, which can expose the lies they have believed. Another way that could be effective is to listen to the person and determine their beliefs and values. Then by the leading of the Holy Spirit, we can ask questions that help them rethink their assumptions and the “truths” that they have put their hope in.
Let’s pray for the lost and ask the Lord to give us opportunities to reach the lost in the coming days and weeks.