Following Jesus from a distance is what prevents us from being fishers of men. Jesus, when He called the first disciples, did not offer any sermon on fishing for the souls of men. He simply said, “Follow me.” Of course, after His resurrectionHe asked the disciples to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). For it is the Holy Spirit who convicts a sinner (John 16:8, 9) and not our smart methods of telling the good news.
What did Jesus expect from us when He called us to follow Him? He expects us to make detailed preparation for the task like a fisherman. We are to get the nets and boat ready. So also a fisher of men must get himself prepared in prayer. So also he should grow in love towards all fellow men. For “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.” It was love for us that made God to sent His Son Jesus to this earth. It was love that led to His sacrifice on the cross. Likewise we should also be motivated by love for others.
The Bible commends a man who wins souls (Proverbs 11:30). They will shine like the stars for ever and ever (Daniel 12:3). Dear child of God, are you active in fishing for the souls of men and women? There is an eternal reward (crown) for you if you do so (1 Thessalonians 2:19). So be prepared for every opportunity.
The Bible also compares a person who goes out seeking souls for God’s kingdom to one who sows seed. He goes out weeping bearing seeds to sow. It shows his attitude of care and concern for others. This is also spoken of as a burden for the souls of men and women. Only such a person will reap with songs of joy. (Psalm 126:5). Not only is reaping a joyous thing in our eyes but also in heaven (Luke 15:7, 10). You’ll share in that joy when you win souls for the kingdom of God (Acts 16:34).
Perhaps you’re willing to be a fisher of men. Yet fear prevents you from witnessing to others about Jesus Christ. Everyone feels fear at first. The thought that sometimes you’ll be rejected or laughed at makes you feel sick at heart. When this happens think much on Jesus who was crucified. It was for you. When you think much on his love, you’ll love to share this love with others and suffer the disgrace with Jesus (Hebrews 13:13).
Let us along with Paul say, “I am not ashamed of the gospel” (Romans 1:16); the reason being it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. Remember too Jesus warned that if we are ashamed to confess Him before men, He will also be ashamed about us when He comes again (Mark 8:38). It is important that we go with the gospel and reach people where they are-in schools and colleges, in buses and trains, in the marketplace as well as playing grounds.
Let us also remember that we are not asked to judge people. Leave that to God. But let us show them that God cares. Love has to be practical. One simple but most effective way to tell others that God cares is by being there for them when they need you most. Especially when people are sad, in sorrow and suffering. Then there is no need to preach.
Again, the secret is following Jesus closely. When you spend much time in his company in prayer and reading of God’s Word; others take note quickly. For instance, “And they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). That is the real secret of being fishers of men. Follow Jesus as close as you can. Then quite naturally you’ll witness to others.