Fishing: It’s More than a Hobby; It’s A Way of Life

There was once a group of professional fishermen who loved fishing. As they plied their trade near the shore, a man approached them with a surprising invitation. “Jesus said, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19, NIV) This verse about fishing contains a world of information about life, purpose, and ministry. Don’t miss THIS:

Unmissable Words

It starts with the important phrase, “Jesus said”. The words of Jesus are not just random comments from an itinerant Jewish Rabbi, they are powerful and eternal. In Matthew 24:35, he promised, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” So far, so good. In John 6:63 he explained, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life”. When other followers turned away, Peter’s response recognized how important it was to pay attention to Jesus’ words, when he said, “Lord to whom [else] would we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68).

It’s important to note that the disciples recognized that following Jesus was optional. They didn’t HAVE to leave their vocations. They all had a choice. But when they chose, they were all in. They bet their livelihood and their lives on following a relatively unknown Rabbi. They were taking their futures, their occupations, and their happiness and betting them on Jesus. It’s what he challenged them to do. Come to think of it, isn’t that what he calls all of us to do?

A Unique Call?

Secondly, Jesus said, “Follow me.” This is what Jesus calls all of us to do, but even those of us who SAY we follow Jesus, really don’t. (Ever wonder why Jesus used certain analogies, and whether he was a good teacher? Look at his recorded teachings sometime, and how what he said related to where they were or what was happening; he was a master at connecting the dots for his audience and drawing them into his lesson.) In this case, Jesus was talking to professional fishermen, so when he mentioned fishing, he had their attention.

fishing

The men Jesus addressed HERE responded in a radical way: “immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.” (Matthew 4:22) They left their livelihood, their heritage, and their families to hear what Jesus had to say. What have you left to follow him? What is it that pushes him back to second or third (or tenth!) place in your time, your priorities, and your schedule? Perhaps “follow” meant something more to Peter, James, and John than casual acquaintance and hanging together a couple of hours in church every week…

But when you love something, isn’t that how it is? You love it so much that you’re willing to invest money, resources and time to chase a dream or perform a mission. Yeah guys, you can mentally compare what you spend on fishing, golf, hunting, cars, etc. to how much you invest in your spiritual life… (Or ladies, you can compare what you spend on clothes/jewelry/Nick-knacks/girls’ trips, etc…) Face it: following Jesus meant more to the disciples than it does to us.

Invest in Fish

Finally, he calls the disciples to continue fishing. He relates ministry to what they know, and asks them to transfer their skills from commerce to the Kingdom of God. When the fishermen heard that, I feel pretty sure that they immediately thought of all they knew about fishing: Preparation is important. You have to mend your nets, inspect your ropes, patch your sails, and check your boat. Know the right places to go fish (Go where the fish are). Get up early. Use the right bait. Cast your nets wisely. Love what you do. Take all the time you need. Persevere. Be patient. Have fun! Be passionate… Fishing…

A Vocational Change?

Jesus walked upon the shore along the Sea of Galilee
And saw some brothers fishing, and he said to them, “Come follow me.”
They stopped their casting to consider what he said, and then
He told them he would make them fishers not of fish, but men.
They left their nets behind to see if this new Rabbi by the Sea
Could train them up so they would be the truth of his analogy.
Do you have curiosity? Read Acts. The rest is history.

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread

How Can We Have Eternal Impact in a Temporary World?

Every generation has people who want to create eternal impact in a temporary world. From Ozymandias to Hitler to Mohammed Ali, men have wanted to be immortalized as (use your Mohammed Ali voice here) “the greatest of all time”. Athletic contests are characterized as “history-making”, and athletes become legends. Sports fans love to argue endlessly about the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), whether it’s Ali vs Tyson, MJ vs LeBron (or Kobe, but nah!), or Nicklaus vs Tiger.

eternal greatest

GOAT-like Impact

The Bible says that this type of impact is possible, just not in the way Ali thought. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35, NIV). “For you have been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever “. (1 Peter 1:23, NKJV) “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17, NIV).

eternal

Making Eternal Impact

If you want to have eternal impact, consider this: You only touch only two things in this world that are immortal, two things that will outlast heaven and earth. These two things that you will encounter not only here on earth but also in eternity…One of them is the Word of God. It will not pass away even though the world will fall. (And hey, it’s still here after 2000 years, so it’s doing pretty well so far…) This makes sense in a way because the written word is an expression of the Living Word, who is the second person of the Trinity.

Eternity will involve being intimate with the Word of God, of knowing Him just as he knows us. Everlasting life will not be the end, but a means to another end, and the Word of God, which abides forever, will be a living, dynamic part of our eternal journey. Think about it this way: “Home” is wonderful not because of the floor plan or the bricks or mortar, but because of the words we receive there, words of love and affirmation. We love going Home because of the relationships there.

Heaven won’t be amazing because it has streets of gold, but because we will be welcomed there as family who have been adopted by the Word of God. We will have an eternity in our new home to get to know Him and to grow in his wisdom and love.

Eternal Conversations

The second eternal thing we will experience long after we leave this world is all around you, and something we all encounter every day. It’s people. It is the souls of men, which are all destined for eternal life one way or another.

C. S. Lewis said, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” Think about that: Everyone you know will live forever. What friendships and conversations will we carry forward? We think of our earthly legacy, but I believe we are also here creating a legacy that will go with us when we transition into eternity.

Peter says that everyone born again will be incorruptible, and John says that whoever does the will of God lives forever. The relationships that begin here in a corruptible world will outlast it, carried by the will of God into the endless eons of eternity. So think about that. Every day you have the opportunity to invest in short-term, temporary things, or you can invest in eternal things. Charles Thomas Studd, an exceptional cricketer and missionary in the 19th century said “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.” I put it like this:

Eternal Difference Makers

Living in a world that's messed,
Men will strut and pound their chest
And strive to be the very best.
To be the greatest, pass this test;
“On earth, two things outlast the rest:
Friends and the Word. Invest. Invest!”
Eternal investment, eternally blessed.

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread
For the Kindle Edition, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Bo-Jackson-ebook/dp/B01K5Z0NLA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-2&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread