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The Fisherman

He came most mornings about 7:30, dressed in a T-shirt, shorts and sandals, with a fishing pole in one hand and a Styrofoam cup of bait in the other. There is a small pond behind our back porch, with a few homes on one side and some woods on the other. When I saw him fishing on that first day, I thought to myself, “Now that is a waste of time.” The pond seemed too small for fishing and not worth the effort.

The fisherman was truly committed. He came early nearly every morning. He would start in one spot, fish for ten or fifteen minutes, and then move to a different spot and try again. In 45 minutes or so he worked all the way around the pond and left for the day. Come 7:30 the next morning, dressed the same way, carrying the same fishing pole and cup of bait, he again went around the pond, moving from spot to spot every few minutes. No nibbles, no bites, no fish, but the fisherman kept fishing. Obviously, that pond was not large enough for fish.

One day my wife joined me for morning coffee on the back porch just as the fisherman arrived. “Sweetheart,” I said, “Behold, a dedicated fisherman. That pond is too small for fish, but for two weeks this guy has come every morning and worked his way around the pond, casting his line over and over again without ever getting a bite, much less a fish.” He was at his last spot for the day when we saw his line go tight. The fisherman began to pull and reel in, and a fish, nearly a foot long, suddenly appeared on the end of his line. Turns out the pond was not too small for fish after all! The fisherman came another couple of weeks before he apparently returned home from an extended family visit, and I have not seen him since. By my count, his total catch was three fish, which was three more than I caught while watching from the porch.

The fisherman taught me two important lessons. First, people who fish always catch more fish than people who don’t. Second, true fishermen don’t fish because they know what or if they will catch. They fish because they are committed to fishing. They trust the process even though they do not know what the results will be on any given day. When they fish, they know that eventually, they will catch.

We do well to remember that in Matthew 4:19 Jesus called all who follow Him to be “fishers of men.” If you are not fishing for men, intentionally seeking to bring lost people to Christ, you are not following Jesus. Do not be distracted by your setting. Keep fishing. Keep introducing Jesus and inviting people to come to Him, and your “catch” will come in due time. Whatever your think the potential may be, keep fishing! Your setting is not too small, too large, or too complex. The fish are there, awaiting a fisherman.

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