HOW TO BE A FISHER OF MEN
When Jesus called Peter and Andrew, He said unto them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew ). “Fishers of men” should describe all Christians. But to be a successful fisher one must have certain characteristics.
1. HE MUST GO WHERE THE FISH ARE. And fishers of men must go where men are. We must go to the large cities, to the over populated countries, to the uncivilized tribes—wherever men are we must go. It has been said, “No man has the right to hear the gospel twice until all have had a chance to hear it once.”
2. HE MUST USE THE RIGHT BAIT. We must fish for souls with the gospel of Christ. No other bait is required; no other bait is needed. The gospel is God’s remedy for the ills of the world—it is the power of God unto salvation (Romans ).
3. HE MUST USE THE PROPER EQUIPMENT. One does not go fishing with a pitchfork or a cross cut saw. In the word of God, the Christian is fully equipped to every good work; he has all that is needed to reach the lost.
4. HE MUST PURSUE HIS SPORT—THAT IS, HE MUST KEEP ON GOING. If he fails at one place he goes to another. Fishers of men must keep on going, going until the last soul has been reached.
5. HE MUST HAVE AN ABUNDANCE OF PATIENCE. He may have to fish all day, in any kind of weather, before he gets a bite. Perseverance is the secret of successful soul winning. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58).
6. HE LEARNS THAT HE CANNOT CATCH FISH UNLESS THEY ARE BITING. There
are areas of the world where the hearts of people are more receptive to truth
than in others. J. C. Bailey tells of
seeing people so hungry for truth that they would take tracts and read them
until all the words were faded away. He
said they would then return them and ask that he reprint them. This is happening in
7. HE MUST KEEP WHAT HE CATCHES—IF THEY ARE WORTH KEEPING. Here is a sad reflection of modern fishers of men. It is conservatively estimated that we lose more than fifty per cent of all new converts to Christ in the first seven years. The loss slows down after that but there is a constant drain. And when a church says, “We are holding our own,” it means, “We are baptizing as many as we are losing (and that can be a pretty impressive number at times). A church must grow rapidly to remain the same size. Thus we have no choice in the matter: we must either grow or perish. And we must somehow learn to keep more of what we catch.
It has long been my conception that the church of the Lord will grow in direct proportion to the work we put into it and the work we do depends on the number of workers dedicated to the task of proclaiming the gospel to the whole world. Thus going into all the world requires workers!