“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you FISHERS OF MEN.” Matthew 4:19
Have you ever gone fishing? Some of my fishing friends boast about its benefits-being outdoors and being one with nature, having the sun in their face while listening to the peaceful sounds of the open waters, drinking beer, laughing, and talking smack with friends, and the rush received when the fishing line tugs and they’ve got a catch. Even though I love eating fish, I’ve never gone fishing, but someday I want to. As I pondered the thought and the experience of fishing, I realized that it was actually a prestigious and honored occupation in biblical days. In those days, fishermen were strong, rugged, and gruff men that were hardworking, and Jesus noticed. “As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, HE saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow ME,’ Jesus said, and I will make you FISHERS OF MEN. At once they left their nets and followed HIM” (Matthew 4:19-20). But, what does that mean? How can fishermen become FISHERS OF MEN? For this week’s blog, let’s talk SHIP about becoming FISHERS OF MEN!!!
When we hear the phrase FISHERS OF MEN, our mind may conjure up the image of men running around town with huge nets trying to capture people. But being a FISHER OF MEN is a practical action that Jesus wanted his disciples to help HIM with. It doesn’t mean there were men actually running around with nets trying to capture people. It simply means following the example of Jesus, loving our neighbors as ourselves, treating others with kindness, being joyful, sharing the teachings and the love of GOD with the intent of bringing people closer to GOD. Jesus chose disciples that were fishermen and trained them so that they would be able to assist HIM with HIS life-changing mission. But, why did Jesus choose fishermen to change the world? Why not a lawyer or a tax collector? What special qualities do fishermen possess that Christ believed qualified them to be FISHERS OF MEN?
Fishermen are typically courageous and daring, patient and determined, team players, and faith-filled. My friend, Forrest “Tree” Henry, is a fisherman that possessed ALL of these qualities. He was also one of those fishermen that, I believe GOD called to be a FISHER OF MEN. Tree was both courageous and daring. Eight years ago, he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma cancer and was supposed to be in hospice but he courageously refused. Instead, he went against the odds and dared to live. He knew he still had things to do, places to go, and people to see. And he did just that, he lived!! He spread his love by traveling to visit family and friends throughout the country. Tree was patient and determined. When doctors told him he only had 6 months to live, he was patient with his diagnoses but he was even more determined to live. And he did just that, he lived!!! He spent his days with his nephew and friends fishing on the open seas. Tree was a team player. He knew he was a starter on GOD’S team and always played his position. He did what he needed to do to stay healthy and let GOD handle his healing. Tree was a faith-filled man. It was his faith in GOD that allowed cancer to lay dormant for 4 years while he continued to live!!
YES, my friend Tree was a true fisherman. He had all of the equipment necessary to be a successful fisherman and used that same equipment to touch our lives in his role as a FISHER OF MEN. Tree used his fishing rod to cast his line further and deeper into our lives. He attached his fishing reel to his rod and used it to capture our hearts. Tree brought extra lines on fishing trips because he knew that lines would tangle up or break and he always wanted to keep his lines clear so that he could stay connected to us. He used a variety of different-sized hooks when he fished because he knew that just like fish, we, his friends had big mouths too. Tree used an assortment of bait on his line because he knew that using different bait for different people was the only way we’d see the GOD in him. When he caught fish, he used the most effective net—the gospel of Jesus Christ- because he knew that no other “net” could hold what he’d caught for GOD-US. Tree lovingly touched the lives of many and was certainly a FISHER OF MEN.
Jesus’ message to Peter, Andrew, Tree, and to ALL of US—is to follow ME, learn of ME, know and understand MY mission and MY message. It is only then that we, like Tree, will be able to become FISHERS OF MEN. So, to honor his memory, let’s cast our nets out and strive to become FISHERS OF MEN.
On August 25th, 2021, my friend Forrest “Tree” Henry fought cancer and won because he LIVED!!! He has gone fishing for the very last time and hung this sign…
SHIP TALK: Are you a fisherman? Are you a FISHER OF MEN?
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