I doubt it. But I suspect that most people have verbalized those five words or that sentiment in their spirit after some particularly convicting portion of Scripture was exposited on a Sunday morning. Most pastors (in my experience) don’t try to deliberatley make people feel guilty. I know I don’t try to do that.
But I also know that I do—make people feel guilty at times.
I found out in my staff meeting today that I may have done it on Sunday in discussing Matthew 4:19.
“Follow me and I will make
you to become fishers of men.”
As part of the message on Sunday, I was exhorting the congregation to be bold in their witness and to be about the business of fishing for men. I was making the point that all of us who claim allegiance to Christ are jointly recipients of the command to follow Him and be made into fishers of men. No exceptions.
But in my staff meeting on Monday, one of the wisest said, “I want you to explain to me more of what it means to be a fisher of men.” Others joined in the discussion and it became clear that I had not been clear. The understanding around the table was that none of our staff felt that they had ever been very effective in fishing for men and had not led anyone to faith in Christ is some time.
Do you see what happened between my exhortation to fish and the conclusion of my staff?
I said “fish” and they heard “catch”.
I said “fish” and they heard “catch.”
But fishing is not always catching. Ask any fisherman. Sometimes the fish are biting. Sometimes there aren’t any fish, or you are fishing in the wrong place. Sometimes the fish are alseep. Sometimes the fish are distracted. Sometimes the fish are suspicious of the bait on your hook, and sometimes you have the wrong bait.
But fisherman fish. They are always looking for a better spot or better bait, a better lure, a better rod and reel because they want to catch fish. It really is that simple.
And that complicated.
If we really have traded camps, moved from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, become servants of the incarnate One, and call ourselves followers of the Risen One then He makes us fishers of men. We are always looking for the next opportunity to fish, looking to improve our process, and salt our speech with more thought producing words. Because we love Him, we fish for men and women. Because we love Him we love those who don’t know Him yet. We keep telling others about the magnificence of our Savior. Some will bite. Some will not. Some of us will catch. Some of us will catch a lot. Some of us may catch a few. But all of us must fish.