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FIRST-PERSON: Fishermen Wanted!

EL CAJON, Calif. (BP) — There’s no greater joy than winning someone else to Christ. Outside our own personal salvation, it’s the greatest joy we can know. I’ve come to the conclusion that when we get serious about sharing our faith, and we ask God to help us get ready, He will put fish in our net. As Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).

What does it take? I don’t do a lot of fishing for real fish, but I do know that if you want to be a fisherman, you’ve got to have three things: a strong net, lots of dedication and patience and, of course, a body of water containing fish.

A strong net

The net is the Gospel itself. The Apostle Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). But how do we present the Gospel? It helps to have a specific plan and pattern. Even if you only know one Bible verse, don’t underestimate what will happen as you share it.

So memorize John 3:16. Learn the Romans Road (Romans 3:23; 6:23; 5:8; 10:13; 10:9, 10).

Patience and dedication

Fishing also takes dedication and patience. Don’t be discouraged if it’s hard at first. Find a way of sharing Christ with others, and trust God with the results. Sometimes we can witness by giving a Bible to a soldier, sending a book to a relative, inviting a neighbor to church or taking a friend to an evangelistic event. Sometimes the glow on our faces and the lifestyle we exhibit contributes to our witness.

Pastor and evangelist R. A. Torrey once said, “I waited and watched 15 long years to get my chance with one man. Never a day passed for all those 15 years that I did not speak to God about that man. At last my chance came, and it was my privilege to lead him to Christ. He afterwards became a preacher of the Gospel, and is now in heaven…. When you undertake to bring a man to Christ, never give up.”

In a sermon about being fishers for men, British pastor Charles Spurgeon observed, “The fishers are up at dawn. At day-break, our fishermen off the Doggerbank are fishing, and they continue fishing till late in the afternoon. As long as hands can work, men will fish. May the Lord Jesus make us hard-working, persevering, unwearied fishers of men! If Christ has caught us, we must catch others.”

Be persistent, and never give up casting out that net.

A body of water containing fish

The last thing you need is fish. That’s not a big problem. We live in a world of over 7 billion of them with more being born every day. We just need to recognize the opportunities.

Former Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Lee Scarborough once addressed a conference on evangelism in Chicago. During a break in the services, he went over to speak with a young stenographer who had been hired to transcribe the conference sessions. Steering the conversation toward spiritual matters, Scarborough learned she wasn’t a Christian. In a few minutes, he had the joy of winning her to Christ.

At the next session, he invited the woman to the platform to make a public confession of her faith and he prayed for her. Present were hundreds of people who wanted to be evangelists, but only Scarborough had recognized the fish in their own private pond — a fish they were even paying to be present.

Has God placed a fish in your private pond? Jesus promised that if we follow Him, He will make us fishers of men. If we aren’t fishing, we may not be following. And if we are following, sooner or later we’ll be fishing. Why not begin now with this old prayer:

Lord, lay some soul upon my heart
And love that soul through me;
That I may humbly do my part
To win that soul to Thee.

    About the Author

  • David Jeremiah, evangelism

    David Jeremiah is pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif., and the founder and host of Turning Point for God. For more information about the ministry, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.

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