Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." - Matthew 4:19, NKJVI don't know how many times I've read this verse, but it struck me differently today than it normally does.
I don't consider myself to be an evangelist, but I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, and every follower of Christ has received a Commission to go forth into all the world and preach the Gospel, making disciples of all nations.
To Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, who were fishermen, Jesus said, "Follow Me! And I will make you into a different kind of fishermen--fishers of men, that is, soul-winners."
Although this call was specific to Peter and Andrew where it appears in the Gospel of Matthew, I believe there are several principles that can be applied to the lives of every follower of Jesus Christ:
#1 A follower's first concern is to follow.
Jesus told them to follow Him first, and then He would make them fishers of men. The order is very important. Our primary concern is not soul-winning, although he who wins souls is wise (Prov. 11:30). Our primary concern is to follow Jesus. If we are faithful to follow, He will provide the fish, He will make us into the fishermen He wants us to be, and He will use our lives to save people.
#2 God--and Christ as God incarnate--makes His followers into what He desires them to be.
God is making us--making you, dear Christian--into what He wants us to be. He is sovereign even over the process of our sanctification, and He will complete it. True, He uses means, but He has ordained the means. He knows exactly what He will use to make you everything He wants you to be for His glory. Surrender yourself to His plan, and trust in Him to complete the good work He began in you (Phil. 1:6).
#3 Jesus gives His disciples a vocation: soul-winning.
The first point was that soul-winning is not our primary concern, but following Jesus is. The last point I want to make is that Jesus identifies the vocation of His disciples as soul-winning. We are to be soul-winners. And I think every follower of the Lord Jesus ought to think of him or herself as a soul-winner. We win people to Christ by the testimony of our lives of faithfulness to follow Christ. We win people to Christ by being different from the world and being humble when we fall and sin. We win people to Christ by putting the Gospel on display in our lives. We win people to Christ by preaching and teaching and sharing the Good News that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. This is the calling of every Christian! And it is a high calling indeed: to represent the Lord Jesus Christ in the world!
This one verse is such an encouragement to me! I feel so unequal to the task which has been appointed to me, but I know--with renewed confidence--that if I am faithful to follow Him, He is making me into the soul-winner He wishes me to be.