Fishers Of Men
I do not believe it is unusual for men to go fishing and not bring fish back. I know a lot of wives who do not plan on a big fish fry that night! I have never understood how some men (I did not say mine) have the patience to “fish” all day and not catch anything. This isn’t new, even the disciples whined about not catching fish! When we were in the Holy Land we got to worship in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. It was amazing being where Jesus and the disciples were! Henry David Thoreau has a great explanation of how men could fish all day and not catch anything. “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”
This reminds me of Matthew 4: 19, “Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” I thought of this when I was pondering a devotional I had heard during a staff meeting. My pastor was teaching from Matthew 9: 35, “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were ]weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’”
If it did not catch your eye, read verse 36 again. “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” The Bible is the Living Word because it is alive today! I believe we are weary and scattered! That is most of us! Our God knows we are weary and scattered. He is telling us there is much work to do but not many workers. So, they had the same problem back then. So, what are we, the church, to do? He told us in verse 38, “Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” We are to look up and see the fields of people who need to know Jesus. In obedience to Jesus’ command, we must earnestly pray to reach the lost. When we plead with Christ our hearts are burdened for the lost. When we pray, God will give us the compassion for those that need Jesus.
It does not stop with prayer. Jesus is also “sending” the disciples out. In verse 35, “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” But in Matthew 10: 4, He gives the disciples the power to cast out demons and heal the sick. Matthew 10: 4, “And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.”
When I see a list of Biblical names, I tend to skip over and maybe that is why I had never caught this change. Notice the change in verse two. Earlier Jesus used the word, “disciples”. Now it says, “Now the names of the twelve “apostles…” As followers of Jesus they were disciples but now that they were being “sent”, they were apostles.
Thinking about how we are all scattered and many of us burdened by this time of uncertainty, I think God is telling us, again, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Look at this world, I believe the harvest is plentiful. I always say it is in the hard times that we grow but never thought about the church. My pastor says, it is in the hard times that the church grows. Thank God in the hard times because that is when each one of us grows. Pray that God will send out more laborers into this harvest. It’s time to go fishing!