Teach Me to Fish - Russ Isom

In Daniel’s message this past Sunday, he directed our attention to when Jesus called some fishermen to follow him. Jesus invited them to use what they already knew about fishing, to make an eternal impact by becoming fishers of people. As the Contemporary English Version puts it: Jesus said, “Follow me. I will teach you how to bring in people instead of fish.” Daniel challenged us to think about what we already know, and consider how we can leverage that for eternal significance rather than for temporary existence.

I remember how my dad taught me to fish when I was a young boy. Since I did not like sitting still, I preferred fishing on a stream rather than in a boat on a lake--to keep moving! So, Dad taught me to survey the stream and determine the most likely places where the fish were. He told me to pay close attention to the eddies--those sections of circular movement flowing in the opposite direction from the main current. Oftentimes, the fish waited there for the bugs and other food brought to them by the natural flow. Dad also told me to watch for big rocks, logs, and overhanging tree limbs by the water--other possible fish hang outs.

Once I determined where the fish were, I presented my baited line in such a way as to encourage them to receive it. What were the fish feeding on? I wanted to use something resembling their natural food. Dad showed me how to be upstream from the fish before putting my line in and then let it drift down naturally with the current into the area where the fish were. Sometimes it took several tries in that same spot before the fish would ingest what was offered. This is where patience came in. My brother, David, was much better at it than I was. Dad would often recount how my line was reeled in after a short time, “…to make sure everything was OK.” But, David patiently waited for the fish to bite. He CAUGHT more fish than I did!

How does my Dad’s fishing lesson, help me use what I know to make an eternal impact--bringing in people instead of fish? Who are the people in my stream of life that I need to serve? What are their interests? How can I build a relationship with them? God is the one to soften their hearts to receive the Good News of Jesus. In my words and actions, I need to be patient, and continually offer the Good News, until they grab on to the life line of Jesus.

One of the thrills of fishing is to feel the tug on your line when you have a good-sized fish on. But an even greater joy is witnessing Jesus’ tug on a friend’s heart and their response of faith and trust in Him. That is eternal impact! That is something to celebrate!

Russ Isom
Care Pastor | Hope City Church