Our Lord Jesus told His disciples that their focus would no longer be gathering fish, but instead gathering men in the kingdom of God. As we follow our Lord’s direction, there is often excitement concerning fishing for men, that is, until we realize what fishing for men is all about.
A few years ago, I had my greatest fishing outing ever. I went out with my cousin on a private lake in Wisconsin where we caught 52 bass, (15 inches and up). In fact, the only reason we stopped fishing is that I got a hook caught in my finger. While one hook of the lure remained in the fish, the other hook was firmly lodged in my finger. As the fish jerked in discomfort, my finger felt every jolt in a real and painful way.
Likewise fishing for men is not always fun. Fishing for men is not simply about growing a big church and recounting the great story and success. Sometimes fishing for men can be very painful. At times, when we share the gospel with others, we may feel rejected or even a sense of failure. And even when we do grow as a church, suffering is involved. Someone once said, “Everyone likes to fish, but no one likes to clean the fish.” Everyone likes a growing church with young adults, but not everyone wants to care for the growing needs of these young adults in the church. Caring for each other isn’t always easy or fun. At times, caring for others involves suffering along with them as they go through a heart-breaking situation or sacrificing your own resources to help someone through a difficult time.
This type of care and concern doesn’t come naturally to us. Like a child who catches a fish and then waits for grandpa to unhook it, we would rather not deal with the dirty situations involved in bringing sinners to Christ. But Jesus tells us that He will make us fishers of men. Yes, Jesus suffered along with us and took our pain and sorrow on the cross so that we might be gathered in the net of God’s grace, rejoicing in the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The greatness of Christ’s “fisher of men” story can never be exaggerated. Now with Christ living in our lives, He makes us fishers of men through His Word and Sacraments, opening our hearts to the needs of young adults. As we continue our fishing trip in the name of the Lord, we are comforted by the knowledge that even when we suffer, in Christ we are a part of God’s greatest fishing story.
Have a great day in the Lord!