It was a cold winter day, when an old man walked out onto a frozen lake, cut a hole in the ice, dropped in his fishing line and began waiting for a fish to bite. He was there for almost an hour without even a nibble when a young boy walked out onto the ice, cut a hole in the ice not too far from the old man and dropped in his fishing line. It only took about a minute and WHAM! a Largemouth Bass hit his hook and the boy pulled in the fish. The old man couldn’t believe it but figured it was just luck. But, the boy dropped in his line and again within just a few minutes pulled in another one. This went on and on until finally the old man couldn’t take it any more since he hadn’t caught a thing all this time. He went to the boy and said, “Son, I’ve been here for over an hour without even a nibble. You have been here only a few minutes and have caught about half a dozen fish! How do you do it?” The boy responded, “Roo raf roo reep ra rums rrarm.” “What was that?” the old man asked. Again the boy responded, “Roo raf roo reep ra rums rarrm.” “Look,” said the old man, “I can’t understand a word you are saying.” So, the boy spit into his hand and said, “You have to keep the worms warm!”
Funny story! I want to look at a story of Jesus and four fishermen and see why Jesus called fishermen to follow Him.
Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. And when he had gone a little farther thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him. (Mark 1:16-20)
This was not their first meeting. Approximately one year earlier Andrew and an unnamed disciple, probably John, had been invited to come and see where Jesus lived, and they became His spiritual followers (John 1:35-42). Andrew went out and found his brother, Simon, and brought him to Jesus as well. Mark is not recording the conversion of Peter, Andrews, James & John, but their call into ministry.
Jesus picked fishermen to be His first disciples. Notice:
Jesus calls common people doing common jobs to do an uncommon work.
They were common people. They were common fishermen. Abraham Lincoln said, “God must love the common people – He made so many of them.” Usually it was the students who sought out the rabbi. Here it was the other way around. God is looking for common, normal, average people to do His work.
They were working people. These men were hard workers – men in business, up early, not just talkers but movers. One group was casting nets, the others were mending nets. Others that God called into ministry: Moses was keeping sheep, Gideon threshing wheat, Elisha plowing.
They were talented people. They had a talent for catching fish. Fishermen have talents that God can use: courage, patience, ability to work together, energy, stamina, faith and tenacity. Jesus would use their talent for Him. Everybody has a talent, gift, or ability that can be used by Jesus. Jesus even finds a way to make good use of past experiences we have had to help us serve Him. Our uniqueness will allow us to have a unique ministry to reach people for Jesus. It is interesting what the two pairs of brothers were doing when Jesus called them. Andrew & Peter were casting nets, and James & John were mending nets. We discover that in their future service for the Lord, Peter & Andrew were used as evangelists – reaching new people: Peter to crowds, Andrew to individuals. Yet, James & John were used as pastors. James was the first pastor to be martyred & John was the last of the apostles to die. Evangelists come first, followed by the patient toil of those who look after the flock and keep the affairs of the church in good repair.
They were kingdom people. Jesus wanted to use them to make an eternal impact. They jumped at the opportunity to follow Jesus. We can either work for our own kingdom and build up our own ‘empire’ or we can work in God’s kingdom and receive His rewards. We don’t have to leave our occupation or residence to reach people for Jesus. He will use us where we are at to reach the people around us.
Will you use your talents & abilities for God or for yourself?