When Jesus extended an invitation to His early disciples, He simply said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:17 NKJV). The first step for them was an act of obedience; they just had to follow. Yes, it meant that they would abandon their livelihoods and forsake their families; but overall, they were assigned one simple task . . . follow! Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? They didn’t have to worry about their direction, purpose, or daily activities. Their aim was to follow the Teacher. But as easy as that appears, we know that there are inherent difficulties in following Jesus. Distractions surround us, and distresses pressure us. Such was true for the first disciples, and such is our reality as well. Whether it is the noise of the clamoring crowd or the great windstorm that blows in our lives, we can be drawn away from our primary task of following Him. And when we fail to follow, we will fail to fish.
Don’t miss the connection in Jesus’ summons: “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men”. When the disciples committed to following Christ, He committed to transform them into some fishing fellows! As they became more like their Master, these specific disciples would recognize their new vocation of catching men and women for Him. In so many ways, they would “capture the minds” of others for the glory of Christ. What a great work that was! And still is! For our Lord continues to fashion us into the fishermen He wants us to be!
This month, we have especially encouraged you to “Go Fish.” Through the 3151 emphasis, you have been challenged specifically to pray for 3 lost people, learn 1 Gospel presentation, invite 5 others to Sunday School, and share the good news with 1 person. Thanks be to God, we have already received some great stories from fishermen and fisherwomen (and I actually believe these fish stories!). My prayer is that we will keep fishing, so we can tell even greater fish stories in the days to come! But oh yeah, don’t forget that you cannot effectively fish unless you are effectively following. Follow Christ in your own personal life, and then fish for others.
One final note . . . I am so grateful to be a part of a church that follows, fishes, and funds! By that, I mean you are always generous in funding Kingdom ministry, especially when it comes to missions. Over the last couple of weeks, many of you graciously gave so that we could meet two particular obligations. First, we raised approximately $85,000 within the past week so that we could fully fund our $1.3 million Youth Area Renovation. That means we have no debt! Praise the Lord for His resources. Second, we not only met our goal for our Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering, but we also surpassed it by raising more than $28,000. Of course, all of this was in addition to what was given through regular budget offerings, benevolence projects, disaster relief giving, etc. Again, I hope that you will join me in thanking God for all the resources He provides us so that we can give faithfully. See you Sunday!