Many years ago I was reading through the Gospel of Matthew when the Lord spoke very clearly to me. In Matthew 4:19 Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” After I read that verse the Spirit said: “If you are not fishing, you are not following!” I thought, “How true. If we are not sharing Jesus with others and being a witness for Him where we live, work, and play then we are truly not following Him. We may think we are okay and still walking closely with Him. However, we are simply deceiving ourselves.” I still believe that.
When I reached the end of the Gospel of Matthew I again heard the voice the Spirit. I had just read, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) God spoke and told me that I didn’t believe those words. After a brief argument trying to convince Him that I did believe His Word I stopped and listened. He said, “You don’t believe those words because, if you did, you would have a passport. Without a passport you cannot go into all the world.” I applied for and received my first passport. Within two weeks I was in Ukraine ministering the Gospel of the Kingdom.
You see, the purpose of the Church is not to meet your needs or heal all your hurts and woundedness. The purpose of the Church is to fulfill the Great Commission. To do that we need to be ‘fishing for men’ and telling them the Good News that Jesus saves. Jesus came “to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). We, His followers and disciples, are to complete that task that He started. We are called to go into all the world and fish for men. It is not an option, it is a command. It is not for special, anointed people. It is a command for every believer to obey.
Again, as I read the Gospel of Matthew many years later God asked me two questions. Question one: “What business are we in?” I gave Him many answers – caring for the sheep, feeding the sheep, healing the sheep, teaching the sheep… But I knew none of them were the right answer. So, I asked Him, “What business are we in?” And He answered, “seeking and saving the lost!” I knew that but I had become so busy with the sheep I had in the local church I pastored that I was no longer taking the time to share the Gospel with the lost.
The second question He asked me was, “How’s business?” And my truthful answer was, “It sucks!” Because people were not hearing the good news and people were not coming into the Kingdom. We had been “successful” and had grown a good sized church but had lost the passion of “seeking and saving the lost.” It had been a slow slide away from following Jesus and fishing – but the drifting had taken us a long way from where we had started (Hebrews 2:1).
That day I told the Lord that if He ever asked me that question again the answer would be different. And, since that day I intentionally look for opportunities to share the Gospel of the Kingdom. Being a witness does not happen by accident. It is always something we need to plan for, take time to do, look for open doors as we go through our daily activities. So, I schedule my day with ample time to say “yes” to opportunities as they arise. I live life aware of the urgency to share God’s love with those who do not know Him. Where they will spend their eternity is in play here.
So, I have made many changes over the years to return to the purpose of the Church and the call upon every true believer. And, as we enter a new season in the physical it is a good time to think, once again, about what is occupying my time and my focus … and make more room in my day to be a witness to the resurrection and a disciple-maker. That is always the emphasis in the Kingdom and the call of the King on all of our lives.
Been fishing lately?