On Sunday, November 8th (Remembrance Sunday), Br Michael preached the following sermonette at our All Age Worship service at 3pm.
An audio version is available here.
May the words of my lips and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O God, my strength and my redeemer.
‘Follow me; and I will make you fishers of men’
Has anyone here been fishing before? My grandfather has. His name is Michael too and like me, he has wavy red hair, is very well built and is jolly handsome! He really enjoys fishing and, on his fishing days, gets up at the crack of dawn and packs his car full of chairs, fishing rods, bait, umbrellas, wiggly worms and, of course, flasks of tea or coffee. However, his fishing trips aren’t always successful, sometimes he will spend a whole day there and won’t catch a single thing, but he really enjoys trying. At the end of the day, he re-packs his car with the now smelly fishing gear and drives home, ready to try again next time.
In our Bible reading this morning, Jesus is walking past a lake, not too unlike the one that my Grandfather fishes at. Just like the lake in Birch, there are fishermen sat around this lake too. Jesus then does something rather odd. He calls out to them and says ‘Follow me; and I will make you fishers of men’. That’s quite an odd thing to say, isn’t it.
Jesus was trying to explain to Simon and Andrew, that they could help Him share His Good News with people. In order to do this, they had to leave behind their jobs, their families, their money and follow Jesus. He then took them away and equipped them to do this important job.
In order to catch a fish, there are three things that a fisherman needs. Can anyone guess what they are?
The first thing a fisherman needs, is a proper rod. You can’t just tie a piece of string onto the end of a stick and expect to catch lots and lots of fish. No, you need a really good fishing rod that is designed for the job – you need to be decently equipped.
The second thing a fisherman needs, is the patience to use the equipment he has. There’s no point casting your line into the lake, counting to ten and pulling it out again – fishing takes a long time! Be prepared to take a good couple of hours to go fishing or you’ll end up not catching anything!
The final thing a fisherman needs, is a lake to fish in! Even if I had the best rod in the world and the patience of a Saint, there would be no point casting it in a puddle, because there are no fish there! In order to catch a fish, you have to go to where the fish are.
The same is true of the Disciples – those people who Jesus called to follow Him. They followed Him to become equipped with the tools and the patience needed and were then sent out to go fishing. But how can we apply this to a Disciple?
Well, the best piece of equipment we have is the Bible. It is full of useful information, but just like my Grandad’s fishing rod, if we put the wrong end in the water, we won’t catch anything – if we don’t understand the Bible, we can’t use it to explain things to people! We need to read our Bibles and find out what they mean.
Secondly, we need to have patience. Just like my Grandad at the lake – sometimes fish don’t bite. Well, guess what, the same is true for people too. Sometimes, people we tell aren’t interested. It doesn’t mean we’ve failed – it means we need to move on and trust that God will do the rest.
Finally, equipped with the best equipment and a whole lot of patience, we need to go and use it! There’s no point sitting around at home reading the paper, reading the Bible or being patient. If we’re not going down to the lake, we’re not going to catch any fish – if we don’t go out into the world, we’re not going to catch any people!
My Grandad often talks about the excitement of catching a fish, how the long wait makes the excitement even greater when you pull it out of the lake, well, my friends, imagine how much more exciting it will be, catching someone for God!
Jesus said ‘Follow me; and I will make you fishers of men’… Let us all go fishing!
Let us pray:
Your Son, whilst on earth, told us to to fishing for people to bring into your Kingdom.
Equipped with all the tools and skills we need, help us to reach out to others and lead them to you.
We ask this, through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord.