Some of the first recorded words of Jesus are found in Mark 1:17, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” In Matthew 28:20, we read our Lord’s final instructions to those who had chosen to follow Him, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
We know that God bestows upon the body believers a variety of spiritual gifts, and He gives each of us gifts according to His wisdom. Recognizing God’s sovereignty, I still experience a dilemma. Since I have not been given the gift of evangelism, how do I fit in with God’s great purposes of redemption? I was encouraged as I read further in the gospel of Mark.
He saw Simon and Andrew casting a net in the sea for they were fishermen……Going a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets. Mark 1:16,19
When I read that two of the disciples were mending nets, I felt my heart leap. Tending broken things is part of my calling since one gift God has given me is encouraging those hurting to have courage in Christ. We gain strength and endurance as light of the truth found in God’s word penetrates the darkness in our own thinking. I desire for everyone to fall deeply in love with God by reading His word and spending time treasuring Him.
Although the church frequently focuses primarily on Matthew 28:20, Jesus’ words continue in verse 29 …teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Perhaps the gift of evangelism – sharing the gospel and seeing others first trust Jesus as their Savior – could be compared to labor and delivery. However, while a believer’s new life begins with salvation and baptism, many others (parents, teachers, coaches) come alongside to nurture this baby to maturity. Mending nets could mean serving quietly in a boring, thankless task or it could be interceding to those who are too broken to pray. If mending nets is the role the Lord has given you, take heart because you, too, are a fisher of men!