My first fishing trip was a disaster. I was completely unprepared for the event. This being my Dad’s wonderful idea for a Father/Son adventure. It was cold. It started at an ungodly early hour. We went on his boat and he drove too fast for a kid who did not know how to swim in the bumpiest waves imaginable. Then we couldn’t just use plastic bait, no, we had to go old school and use live worms. In case you have not picked up on yet I am not an outdoorsy kind of guy. My idea of the perfect vacation is a nice five-star hotel with room service completely bug and people free. This fishing trip taught me valuable lessons, that I will share with you in this post. In Mark 1, we find Jesus calling the first disciples. And He makes them an unusual offer, “17 “Come, follow me,” he said, “and I’ll show you how to fish for people.” Here are four things I know about fishing:
To explore this fact, take a trip with me back to Nineveh. A quick reminder. God sent Jonah to warn the King of Nineveh that His wrath was coming because of their wickedness.
2 “Get up and go to Nineveh, that great city, and declare against it the proclamation that I am commanding you.” 3 And Jonah got up and went to Nineveh, according to the Lord’s word. (Now Nineveh was indeed an enormous city, a three days’ walk across.)
But when the King heard the warning he did something unpredictable, he repented. “…the king of Nineveh, he got up from his throne, stripped himself of his robe, covered himself with mourning clothes, and sat in ashes.7 Then he announced, “In Nineveh, by decree of the king and his officials: Neither human nor animal, cattle nor flock, will taste anything! No grazing and no drinking water! 8 Let humans and animals alike put on mourning clothes, and let them call upon God forcefully! And let all persons stop their evil behavior and the violence that’s under their control!” 9 He thought, Who knows? God may see this and turn from his wrath, so that we might not perish.”
Due to this change of heart God changed His mind and spared them His wrath. “10 God saw what they were doing—that they had ceased their evil behavior. So God stopped planning to destroy them, and he didn’t do it.”
On a recent trip to Haiti, I heard a Haitian pastor illustrate to his congregation the need for total commitment to Christ. His parable: A certain man wanted to sell his house for $2,000. Another man wanted very badly to buy it, but because he was poor, he couldn’t afford the full price. After much bargaining, the owner agreed to sell the house for half the original price with just one stipulation: He would retain ownership of one small nail protruding from just over the door.
After several years, the original owner wanted the house back, but the new owner was unwilling to sell. So, the first owner went out, found the carcass of a dead dog, and hung it from the single nail he still owned. Soon the house became unlivable, and the family was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail.
The Haitian pastor’s conclusion: “If we leave the Devil with even one small peg in our life, he will return to hang his rotting garbage on it, making it unfit for Christ’s habitation.” Dale A. Hays, Leadership, Vol. X, No. 3 (Summer, 1989), p. 35.
Jesus never says love the Lord your God with most of your heart. Nor some of your mind, nor with some of your strength. The verse reads, “29 Jesus replied, “The most important one is Israel, listen! Our God is the one Lord,30 and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Mark 12:29-30
Other places in the Bible we see clearly God expects total commitment. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your being, and all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5
When Jesus called the fisherman, they didn’t have time to call a church meeting or a family forum to discuss the option. It was a simple, quick, and all-in moment. Will you come and follow me and become fishers of me? Will you take up the call to change the world? Are you willing to leave everything you know and have been trained to do? Then sit at my feet and produce a harvest and store up for yourselves a treasure in heaven. Here is something the reader needs to ponder, what has God called you to accomplish for the kingdom? What has he uniquely gifted you to do? If you stop and think about it, you probably already know. So, what is holding you back from answering God’s call to come and follow? Know this, if God called you He has also equipped you and empowers you to do whatever it is He is calling you to. Be bold, and courageous and follow the Master’s call. You have been called, equipped, and empowered to do something extraordinary for God and His Kingdom. Follow your calling!
Next week, we’ll look at the last two lessons I learned about fishing.
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