Word for Wednesday

And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. Mark 1:17

I worked one summer with a young man who was struggling to pay his way through Bible school. He had another year to go, and he wanted to earn enough during the summer to pay his tuition. He was a good worker, and pleasant to be with, but his heart was elsewhere much of the time. The summer job was just a means to reach his goal of graduating with a degree that would enable him to become a preacher in his denomination. I never followed up to see if he succeeded, although he probably did. He had a great desire to become a fisher of men. But he took a different route to that great profession than the one Jesus prescribes in today’s text.

People who attend Bible schools, especially those who attend Bible schools that seek to faithfully teach Biblical truths, undoubtedly learn much about the Bible. They also receive training, coaching, and practice in preaching and evangelism in various forms. But do they become fishers of men? Some do, probably. But I will venture that those who do succeed because they place less emphasis on their formal education and more emphasis on their following Jesus. We have great examples in the New Testament, including the disciples to whom Jesus issued His directive to follow Him. These men had no schooling at all. And yet their preaching turned the world upside down, including some sermons in which thousands were saved. What about the apostle Paul? He had received the highest teaching possible from the greatest of Jewry’s rabbis, but that served him nothing when it came to His exercise to be a fisher of men. His training came from the same place where the best of training comes now, in the local Assembly activities. He became a great fisher of men because He became a great follower of Jesus.

A local Assembly has many opportunities for us to train to become fishers of men. Those opportunities are based in a setting where Jesus is acknowledged as Lord and where the delight is to be in His presence and to learn from Him. The opportunities come in Sunday School work, in children’s meetings, in support for each Gospel series that comes along, in prayer and support for preachers and missionaries, in faithful service and witness day by day. As for education, a Christian who faithfully and diligently prepares for and attends Assembly Bible readings will gain a greater knowledge than any Bible school can impart. And it’s all based on following Jesus, just as He said.

We could have few higher goals than becoming a fisher of men. And the instructions to becoming one couldn’t be simpler: ‘Come ye after Me’. – Jim MacIntosh

Comments are closed.