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Matthew records Jesus saying: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” I think the real question is: What did Jesus mean by “fishers of men”? The older I get, the more convinced that what Jesus wanted his followers to be was not to capture anyone, but to be attractive enough to lure people into being disciples of him.
“Now it came to pass that a group existed who called themselves fishermen. And L0, there were many fish in the waters all around. And the fish were hungry. Week after week, month after month, and year after year. Those who called themselves fishermen met to talk about their call to fish, the abundance of fish, and how they might go about fishing. Year after year they carefully defined what fishing means, defended fishing as an occupation, and declared that fishing is always to be a primary task of fishermen.
Continually they searched for new and better methods of fishing and for new and better definitions of fishing. They sponsored costly nation-wide and world-wide congresses to discuss fishing, promote fishing, and hear about all the ways of fishing such as the new fishing equipment, and any new bait.
In addition to meeting regularly, they organized a board to send out fishermen to other places where there were many fish. All the fishermen seemed to agree that what was needed was a board which could challenge fishermen to be faithful to fishing.
Large training centers were built whose original and primary purpose was to teach fishermen how to fish. Over the years, courses were offered on the needs of fish, the nature of fish, where to find fish, and how to approach and feed fish. Those who taught had doctorates in fishology, but the teachers did not fish. They only taught fishing. And those who were sent out did exactly as those who sent them. They formed groups and held special meetings to define fishing, to defend fishing, and to declare how important fishing was. They talked about the great need for fishing. They prayed much that many fish might be caught. They analyzed the fish and discussed what is necessary in order to catch fish. But one thing they did not do, they did not fish.
Imagine how hurt some were when one day a person suggested that those who don’t catch fish are not really fishermen. Is a person a fisherman if he never catches a fish? What if when Jesus used the term “fishers of men, he really meant to make disciples?