My husband went fishing this morning. There’s no activity he enjoys more than sitting by the lake with a rod in his hand. Each time he casts into the water, he’s hopeful—maybe this will be the time he reels in the big one.
While he’s doing that, I’ll be working in my garden. I’ll till the soil, pluck weeds, and plant some seeds. I know they won’t all sprout, but some of them will. As I plant, I’m looking forward to enjoying the harvest.
Both fishing and sowing were images Jesus used to describe evangelism. He promised His disciples, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). In addition, Jesus taught the parable of the sower to explain the different types of reactions to the gospel message (Luke 8). The activities of fishing and sowing can help us understand important truths about evangelism that can motivate and encourage us as we share our faith with others.
First, evangelism is a hopeful endeavor. Each time we share our faith, we hope the Spirit will awaken a heart to the gospel. My husband puts his hook in the water because he might catch a fish. I plant seeds in the soil because I’m hopeful some will grow. When we speak the words of Jesus to others, we can do so with the same sense of excitement. While some people may not respond to the gospel, by the Spirit’s power others will. We have the opportunity to see a soul come to Jesus. There’s no greater privilege. So we share our faith with hopeful hearts.
Second, evangelism is a joyful endeavor. When my husband catches a fish, he takes a picture and sends it to me. He wants me to share in his joy. In a similar way, it brings me joy to watch things grow. I excitedly tell him about the first signs of tomatoes I see on the vine. When the green skin turns red, I can’t wait to share the harvest with others. As we tell others about Jesus and watch them respond in faith, we share in heaven’s celebration (Luke 15:7). There’s no higher joy than watching a soul come alive. It’s the world’s greatest catch. The best kind of harvest. And Jesus allows us to participate in the work.
Last, evangelism is a necessary endeavor. As Paul asks, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Rom. 10:14). While fishing and sowing are activities my husband and I do mostly for enjoyment, in Jesus’ day, these activities sustained life. If a person didn’t fish or raise crops, he didn’t eat. And if he didn’t eat, he didn’t live. In evangelism, we offer the bread of life and the fount of living waters to those who are desperately thirsty and hungry for true nourishment. How can others believe if no one sows seeds or throws in a net? How will they find life if no one shares the gospel?
We have this treasure; may we share it with hope, joy, and daily faithfulness.