Have you been fishing lately?
I know that might seem like a rather funny way to start a devotion, especially as I look outside and see a winter storm in full bloom. Yet, we are in Michigan, in February, and with the extremely cold weather we have had recently there is considerable potential for doing some ice fishing. And I am quite sure there is also plenty of opportunity to head to a warmer climate, where there might be a chance to do some fishing in more favorable temperatures.
Yet, with all that being said the direction I want to go with this devotion is not towards the idea of fishing for the creatures, who live in the water, but for the land dwellers. This coming Sunday our Old Testament and Gospel readings center their focus on the idea of you and me being fishers of men.
The first lesson from the O.T. is from the Book of Isaiah. The passage addresses the call of Isaiah, to be God’s prophet and messenger to His people. Inspired and empowered, by the Holy Spirit, Isaiah is commissioned, by Yahweh, to go to the people of Israel and share with them the Lord’s Word. This is Isaiah’s calling to be used as a fisher of men, and a catcher of souls. Is he capable of such a task? Only because of the grace of God shown to him, a sinner, by the Lord Almighty.
In the Gospel message Jesus calls fisherman Peter, Andrew, James, and John to be His disciples and fisher of men. He does it in a rather unique way. He gets into their boat and has them set out to sea. He then tells them to carry out their vocation and cast out their nets. Now this would normally be an acceptable request, but in this particular situation it was somewhat foolish, since it was daytime. And not only was it daylight, but they had fished in the area the night before and got skunked.
Yet, even if it seemed a ridiculous thing to do, they followed the advice of Jesus and did what He told them. Amazingly the nets were filled with an unbelievable number of finned creatures. Peter realizing what happened cried out to Jesus in acknowledgement of his sinfulness. It was then that the Master responded with the proclamation, “From now on you will be catching men (meaning they will be used to save souls).
Dear saints, as disciples of Christ, we to are called, by the Lord, to be fishers of men. We have been given the message of the Gospel, which is the power of God to save souls, and He calls us to share it with those who are lost and need to hear it. It does not matter what the weather is when we are fishing for men. What does matter is our willingness to fish. Jesus will give us the opportunities and the bait (His Word), we just need to be willing to get in the boat and throw out the net!!!!! Pastor McCarty