“Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.” Matthew 4: 18-20 (Message))
Essentially this is what Jesus was saying to them with His call to them, “I understand your preoccupation with catching fish. But hear me, fellas, and hear me well. If you’ll trust me and follow me, if you’ll try to understand who I am and what I’m up to in this world, then you’ll also let me make you fishers of men. And believe me, this is infinitely more significant an endeavor than merely catching fish!” This is where the real adventure in following me is found.
Now understand that Jesus was not knocking the fishing business, any more than He would have knocked the construction business from which He and Joseph had made a living. There’s nothing wrong with those occupations, or the food business, the travel business, the insurance business, or the real estate business. They’re all fine. But no earthly enterprise is as important as the business of bringing lost people to the cross of Christ. ‘This should be central to the lives of all of His followers, regardless of what they do for a career.
Those who choose to follow Christ will eventually come to the conclusion that there’s nothing more important than reaching people. And when they do, their values will change forever. They’ll be seized by the realization that every other earthly activity pales in comparison with helping an individual man, woman, boy, or girl come into a saving, liberating, life-changing relationship with the God of the universe.
And once they understand that the most important business in the world is the people saving business, watch out! They’re going to live differently, pray differently, love differently, work differently, give differently, and serve differently, because they’ll be preoccupied with people and their eternal needs. They’ll become consumed with how they can be more effective fishers of men.
Only a few will actually leave their nets and abandon their profession. Not many will make ministry their career. The vast majority of Christians are asked to function within their present occupation, but with a whole new mindset, one that reflects God’s perspective on the eternal importance of people.
Like me, I’ll bet you’re thankful the disciples chose to major in the people saving business rather than the fishing business. The only remaining question is what will you do? How will you invest your life?
Let me implore you, for your own benefit and for the sake of your lost friends, if you love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength: get in the people saving business. Say to God each day, “Today, let me do more than merely catch fish. Help me do more than just sell a product. Inspire me to go beyond providing a service. Enable me to touch a human life. Work through me to reach a man or a woman for you. I want to be in the people business.”
We sometimes reason within ourselves, “I just don’t know enough to help someone come to Christ. If I just had more training and knowledge of the Bible and basic evangelism principles then I would be able to be a real fisher of men.”
(Leonard Sweet in Soul Tsunami) “Our problem in evangelism is not a lack of training. The problem in evangelism is that we don’t love enough. Do you need training to talk about your grandchildren? You love them so much you can’t stop spreading the good news and new pictures with everyone who will listen. Do you need to attend workshops to talk about your hobby? Your collection of Beanie Babies or Barbie Dolls is always on the tip of your tongue, ready to come tripping off at the drop of a hint of interest.
Evangelism doesn’t require training. Evangelism requires love. Lack of evangelism means lack of love.”
Louis Pasteur, the pioneer of immunology, lived at a time when thousands of people died each year of rabies. Pasteur had worked for years on a vaccine. Just as he was about to begin experimenting on himself, a nine-year-old, Joseph Meister, was bitten by a rabid dog. The boy’s mother begged Pasteur to experiment on her son. Pasteur injected Joseph for ten days, and the boy lived.
Decades later, of all the things Pasteur could have had etched on his headstone, he asked for three words: JOSEPH MEISTER LIVED.
Our greatest legacy and the greatest part of this entire life adventure, will be those who live eternally because we decided and devoted our life to the same mission Christ had. We loved lost people because Jesus did and nothing in life is more important to us than helping them discover a growing adventure with God through Jesus. Too many eternities are riding on us for even one of us to succumb to a life of self-centered apathy.