Fishers of men need patience, dedication and much experience

By Debra Whittington

Religion Columnist

“And Jesus said unto them… I will make you…fishers of men”. Mark 1:17

Fishing is a sport that requires little skill or can become an obsession. What it requires the most is patience, time, and perhaps a bit of luck. It is a sport for the young and old enjoyed by the entire family (even the family dog).

As a little girl, Daddy would put a worm on a hook and add a bobber. Once he got it in the right spot in the water he told me to sit down and wait for the bobber to go under because a fish was on my line. With our family dog, Scotty, at my side we would sit and wait for a fish. He was my best friend and a good listener as well.

When the bobber went under I would let out a scream and pulled on the pole with all my might. The fish would become airborne and Scotty lunged for it so it couldn’t escape. This was always funny to Daddy except for the time I sent a spiny, yellow perch flying and hit him in the face.

Fishing on the shores of a lake, in a boat, or beside a small mountain stream all involve patience waiting for the fish. Whether it is a juicy worm or an intricately tied fishing fly, the bait is never the same. I was always in awe of Daddy who loved to fly fish. He knew which rock or branch the trout were hiding under and he could cast the fly right in front of the trout’s nose. He also knew to wait for the fish to strike before setting the hook. He did all of this despite being blind in one eye, instead he knew the feel of a fish setting the hook.

Fishing for men requires patience, dedication, and lots of experiences, through the Holy Spirit. It is knowing that lost people are hiding out of sight waiting for the right hook and bait to come along. Each lost person needs special care as the Gospel is introduced to them.

While there are some miraculous conversions like Paul, very few people are yanked to the shore of salvation. Instead it takes time, patience, and most of all the Holy Spirit to prepare a lost person’s heart.

When a traumatic experience happens, a person may wonder if God can ever use them again for His glory. After Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples went back to fishing. After a long night of fishing, they had caught nothing and were greatly discouraged.

The next morning when they were ready to give up, Jesus appeared on the shore. He asked if they had caught any fish and they responded, “No”. He told them to throw their nets on the other side. When they did so, the nets were full of fish. John 21 tells how their catch was added to the fire and coals where fish were already cooking.

This is only one example of how Jesus multiplies our efforts when we obey Him. In John 6, a little boy gives his two small fish and 5 barley loaves, a small offering that was multiplied by Jesus and fed 5,000 men.

There was a reason the disciples were in the boat all night. They had endured a great trauma and needed time to prepare them for what lie ahead. I can imagine they spent the night talking or taking turns sleeping.

In a time of trauma, the body needs time to rest and recover.  While I am still sitting in the boat in the middle of the night, I am waiting for the morning to come. Jesus is waiting for us to come to him. Will we be ready to cast out our nets?

Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at:

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