For quite a while now I have been without a real hobby. When my body was younger and my health was better, basketball and racquetball held my attention and brought great satisfaction. Ah, but those days are over. Coin collecting has recently drawn my attention, but hasn’t brought much enjoyment. Reading still brings pleasure but I don’t get into the mood very often. I guess the fact that I’m reading a good bit to be ready on Sundays and Wednesdays has something to do with that. Golf is a sport many men enjoy, but chasing my ball as it flies off course is anything but relaxing for me. And then there is hunting – well, for me there never has been hunting. I’ve been a few times and just find it “not Steve”. Maybe it’s because I’m not a good shot – or don’t prefer wild game to eat – or just the fact that it is so final. At least with fishing, you can choose to catch and release.
And speaking of fishing, it’s something I’ve done maybe 20 times in my life – and loved every opportunity. I took advantage of an offer to go fishing on High Rock Lake yesterday with one of our members. God blessed our outing by allowing us to land 27 catfish in the boat. Now mind you, that has not always been my experience. Too many times I remember being skunked [no fish], but I have to say this – I had a blast anyway. Maybe I’ve found my new hobby. At least my fishing partner promised to go with me to pick out my own gear. I feel bad about using his boat and his equipment each time we go out.
It’s not a bad hobby to take up. In fact it is a hobby Jesus commands all of us to take up. Certainly I’m not talking about fishing for fish, but fishing for people. Jesus taught His disciples to fish for men and He wants us to learn to do that as well. Have you taken up the Lord’s favorite hobby yet? The world is filled with people who still need to be caught by the love of God and God is counting on each of us to be a part of the way He reels them in. Now when we landed those fish yesterday it wasn’t too good for the fish, but for everyone the Lord catches through our participation, it will mean something great for them in this life and the next. I challenge you – I double dare you – to join the Lord in His search for new disciples. Would you be brave enough to ask Him to help you become a soul-winner for Him?
What will it mean? It means you will need to take the initiative to learn how to fish. In the boat yesterday I asked my friend to tell me again about different aspects of fishing. It will be a constant learning process to learn to catch fish and people. Preparation is so important. For us the boat needed to be ready – bait needed to be purchased – rods needed to be prepared with line, weights, and hooks – and we had to get to where the fish were. I’m so glad my fishing partner knew the lake and knew about the fish we were going after. My little knowledge would not have helped get any fish in the boat. Do you know the folks God would like for you to reach for Him? We need to seek to learn as much about our lost family and friends as we can so God can more effectively use our witness.
On the way to the fishing hole we both had fun talking with excitement about the prospect of having a great day on the lake. Everything was ready and my friend had a good bit of knowledge about the lake and fish. Yet all that would have been for naught if we didn’t bait our hooks and cast the line into the water. Are you getting a hook wet? Certainly do what you can to be more efficient in sharing your faith – do all you can to learn as much about those God wishes for you to witness to – but while you are doing that cast your line out into the water. Two of our newest Christians in the church are seeking to find ways to share their faith. They’ve taken up the hobby of fishing for people. Certainly you can do the same.
By the way – I’ve given you the wrong impression. Soul-winning is really not to be your chosen hobby – it is to be your career! It is what, as disciples of the Lord, we are to be doing full-time not occasionally. If it’s not your passion and my passion then we’ve got our priorities wrong. If we are not baiting our hooks and casting them out for a catch then we are wasting God’s time, our time and the time of those running out of opportunities to be saved.
My partner didn’t know it but my prayer life was very active while we were together. “Lord, help me to catch some fish. I don’t want to make my friend feel bad that he brought me out here only to find that I couldn’t land anything in the boat.” Do you want to displease the Lord by not trying to catch some fish with His help? How will it feel to stand before Him in eternity one day without any evidence of your work as His fisherman? The reason you are still alive today is for you to be fishing!
Wanting to be His soul-winner – Bro. Steve