There are basically three types of fishermen in this world:
There is the fisherman who goes out to catch fish. His sole purpose is to bring home meat. For him, fishing is a necessity to feed his family or to generate income to be able to feed his family. He is focused. He is a fisherman.
There is the fisherman who goes out to enjoy the experience. He doesn’t care about keeping fish. In fact, he mostly practices “catch and release” fishing. He just likes the feeling of being out there in nature and struggling to outwit this wily creature that hides beneath the surface of the deep. He is one with nature. He is a fisherman.
There is the fisherman who is a combination of the two. He loves to fish, but he also loves to eat fish. He wants to have a great time being away from the hustle and bustle of every day life, but at the end of the day he wants to have something to show for his efforts. He is free to be focused. He is a fisherman.
I find that I fit more with the last group than either of the first two. Recently I went out to fly fish. I’m not very good at this technique albeit I’ve only gone two times. Yet, I wanted to go and learn and have fun, but I also wanted to catch fish. Around here, the limit of trout is five, and that was my goal, so I went to fly fish, but I had a backup plan.
My friend that graciously took me along gave me grief over the irreverence of my backup plan. No, I didn’t bring dynamite. I brought a spinning rod and salmon eggs.
At the end of the day I had caught my limit plus replaced two that got off the stringer, and only one of those did I secure by fly fishing. I enjoyed the time out there with the fly rod in my hand, but when push came to shove I had to catch fish.
I wonder if this is my technique with evangelism too. Jesus said we were called to be fishers of men. I have definitely been called to be that, but if I were only about the experience of sharing the gospel with people, then where would the results be? Telling the message is important, but there comes a point where a person needs to be offered a choice – accept or reject this message.
My technique? I try to follow Paul as he said, “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” (I Corinthians 9:22)
Paul appreciated the transformation that the gospel brings, but in order to help others come to a decision to accept that transformation in their lives he “became all things to all men”. In other words, he didn’t use just one technique to tell everyone about the good news. He showed each person how the gospel is right for them. He was very Jewish around Jews. He was friendly to Gentile customs around Gentiles. He spoke in Athens in the same way their philosophers spoke. He was a jack of all trades so to speak.
I realized this week that I unconsciously try to do just that. I know about football to talk with the fans. I know my terrain to speak with the locals. I fish and hunt to feed my family but also to visit with those who love those activities. I’m on Facebook to relate to what is going on in people’s lives. All of this so that I can help people see how the good news of Jesus relates directly, specifically to them.
I hope you know Jesus. If you’ve not committed your life to Him, then let’s hang out. We can do whatever you want to do. I just want the chance to tell you how awesome and loving is my Savior and Lord.