Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men. Matthew 4: 19 NIVI was reading the Lindenville Cafe the other day, and came across a post entitled, “Learning to Fish for Souls.” The author, Lynn Mosher, talks about her fishing experiences with her dad, how they didn’t use a lot of fancy lures. They simply stuck worms on a hook. Fish like worms and so they’re attracted to come and take a bite. When they do, they also clamp down on the hook and they’re caught.
In the comments to the post, the author writes, “Fisherman [sic] use worms because that's what the fish want. It makes me wonder how often I fail to explain Christ well because I turn up my nose at what people want and need.” Sadly, as fishers of men we too often put the wrong things on the hook and then wonder why the fish aren’t biting. Mosher writes, "our lives must be fresh bait on the hook of the gospel."
Interesting thoughts. What kind of bait are non-Christians hungry for? I propose that they are not hungry for a lot of rules and restrictions. What we all long for is relationship—to know we are loved, wanted, valued, appreciated; that we have worth. As we fish for men, what are we putting on the hook? Are we inviting people to God’s love for them and his desire to be part of their lives or are we bashing them over the head with all the wrong things they’ve done and dragging them, kicking and screaming to be changed? If change is needed, who does the changing? God. Under what circumstances? When we are in relationship with him, listening to what he has to say and choosing to obey.
Why would someone want relationship with a Being they can’t see and aren’t even sure really exists? Because they see us and the relationship we have with God. They see that we have something they don’t and their hunger is stirred. This is how our lives are the “fresh bait on the hook of the gospel.” Of course, this will only happen if we ourselves are different from the non-believers around us and when our differentness is because we’ve developed deep relationship with God.
So I would suggest that the best way to fish for men is to seek God first in my own life—to make him my consuming focus; to deepen my relationship with him, learning to listen more and more closely and choosing to obey. As I do this, others will automatically see the difference and be curious—perhaps even curious enough to bite.
God, I ask that you make me into bait that will attract others to you and your good news—we can be in relationship with the Creator of the universe, Jesus has made a way for us to do this. Fill me with your Spirit, your Presence, You, so that many, many, many will be attracted to you and choose to be in relationship with you. Thank you.