One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed Him.” Matthew 4:18-20 NLT
I don’t have the gift of evangelism. My husband does and he loves it! I love people and have a shepherd’s heart, but I am not one to focus on evangelism. I am called to share daily Kingdom living with those who are interested, and I write, and I have the gift of counsel through the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
It took years for me to get over the fear that someone was going to make me stand on a street corner and cry out like John, the Baptist, saying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
One day I was caught up in a crowd of people in an amusement park and I found myself slip into a different perspective of the people, who, quite frankly, seemed to be cutting off my air as they pressed in around me. I had to purposely focus on breathing to avoid taking off running and screaming to get out of the park. But as I stood there in the line of humanity I felt myself rising, somehow, to a God’s eye view of the multitudes. It was like I was still in my body in the sweltering crowds, but another part of me was lifted up into the heavenlies.
I perceived in the spirit what God sees when He looks down on earth and the very expansiveness of the amount of people He sees and I knew He knew each one by name. And for a brief moment I experienced His kind of love for them. That is how I knew it was Him. I didn’t know these people from every nation that seemed to be surrounding me.
It was pretty much blowing my mind. I felt very, very small as I looked on with Him from His vantage point. I thought of how our small groups we hang out with think they have it all figured out and have all the answers…and I saw how absolutely bazaar it is to think we have God, the universe and all the people in it, figured out.
Only God knows each and every heart. Can you even imagine?
“So Lord”, I said. “What does it mean to fish for people? I don’t think it means to grab them and scare them into repenting!”
And as is His custom with me, He began to teach.
The common image of a fisherman in our day is of a man with a fishing pole casting a lure into the waters of a stream or a lake. However, such was not the case when Jesus called his disciples.
They caught fish with nets and by experience they found that their best fishing took place at night.
We know that this is true by looking at Luke 5:5, when Jesus told Peter to cast his nets on the other side of the boat he said, “Master we have toiled all night and caught nothing. Never-the-less at your word I will let down the net.”
How did they fish at night?
They used a very powerful and effective method.
Fish were attracted to light! Now I was onto something!
Just as fish are attracted to the disciple’s light, God wants people to be drawn to His light shining through His people. The light of every believer is the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives.
Paul stated in his second letter to the Corinthians (4:6-7), “For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power of God may be of God and not of us.”
We are not the light—we merely reflect the light of Jesus.
Now let’s look at what kind of man Jesus was while He walked this earth. I have heard it said that Jesus was not strolling through the Israeli countryside offering poetry readings.
He was on a mission to rescue a people who are so utterly deceived, most of them didn’t even want to be rescued.
I saw that Jesus talked straight.
Sometimes He’s playful; sometimes He’s fierce; the next moment He’s generous. As He is so are we in this earth! This is the beauty of his wonderfully disruptive honesty—you can count on Jesus to tell you the truth in the best possible way for you to hear it.
Could this be one of the reasons why we struggle to spend time with Christ or to listen to His thoughts on our life, world and relationships—because He’ll tell us the truth?
What would it be like to have someone in your life that knows you intimately, loves you regardless, and is willing to be completely honest with you? Yes, it would be a little unnerving, certainly disruptive—but doesn’t part of you also crave it?
Jesus heals a leper. He doesn’t ask Him if He is saved first.
He forgives a prostitute. He just told her to go and sin no more.
He dines with tax collectors and in that day and time that was taboo for “righteous” folk. Would you be intrigued?
Jesus wasn’t concerned with His reputation. Why isn’t He?
Jesus doesn’t seem to care what people think. But we know He cares very deeply about the right things.
What does Jesus’ scandalous freedom in living and relating to others stir up in you?
Jesus sets before us a deeper, truer view of holiness.
We are in a world full of darkness. We are the light of Jesus where He has placed us in the this world. The fish are attracted to light. The people are attracted to the light of Him in us.
“What is it you have that I don’t have?”, they say.
And you reel them in as you simply introduce them to source of the light.
Profoundly simple, yet so profound.
All those external “rules of men” do nothing to promote a genuine holiness. But they do make people Pharisees.
By the truckload.
Remember, “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20).
The only possible way that can happen is through an internal revolution, a changed heart. When we have a heart like Jesus’. Bingo! Open door to share Him in all of His uniqueness.
The more you fall in love with Jesus’ genuine goodness, which is true goodness, the more you will absolutely detest the counterfeit of a false piety and a shallow morality. And the more they will swim around the light and grab the bait!
As they did with Him.