The picture you see here is of my granddaddy Paulk, my slightly older than me aunt Joan and little old me. He was obviously very proud of that string of fish! My granddaddy would rather fish than just about anything and his fishing was not the “catch and release” fishing of the tournaments of today it was the “catch and eat” kind and my grandmother had the happy chore of helping him clean them and then frying them in her skillet to a golden brown and making hushpuppies to go with them.
I learned a little about fishing today, I didn’t know that fish will hide under a dock where it is shady and wait for smaller fish to go by so they can rush out and catch a little meal for themselves. The fishermen that gave me that information had been fishing off the back of a boat and casting toward a dock where he caught his limit of fish while the guy in the front of the boat who was casting out into the wide open spaces of the beautiful lake, didn’t catch a thing!
When Jesus saw Simon Peter and his brother Andrew casting their lines into the ocean trying to catch fish He spoke to them and said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men!”
So how do we effectively fish for men?
Have you ever felt like there was something that God had asked you to do, and you just did not want to? Did you run from Him? Did you hide in your closet, or your own personal favorite hiding place?
My daddy told us of the time that God called him to be a fisher of men, and knowing him the way we did we thought it was very funny! When he was a young Christian as he prayed one day he made God a promise, “Ask me to do anything and I will do it for You!” He said he heard God speak to his heart saying, “Go downtown LA at noon on Friday, don’t take your guitar or anyone with you, just take your Bible and at the stroke of noon begin walking north on Hollywood Blvd. and start preaching saying ‘Jesus is coming soon, prepare yourself, be saved!” Daddy seemed bold when he was in the pulpit, I have seen him preach to thousands and sing until everyone would be on their feet, but that was when he was under the “anointing” not just being the man. He was scared, Friday came and he was so nervous he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. He had gone to the appointed place to preview the scene and there were hundreds of people going this way and that, his hands were cold as ice and his voice was trembling. He just couldn’t do it. For three weeks he fought against doing it, and he couldn’t feel the Spirit of God anywhere. He would cry and pray and nothing would happen. Finally he broke into great sobs and said, “God I promised you I would do anything, and if You will forgive me for being disobedient, I will do it!” He felt the Spirit come back and he felt so relieved that neither nerves nor any other thing could stop him this time. Friday came and he went to the designated corner and began to preach, he said that three stories up he saw heads popping out of windows to see what all the yelling was about. He walked the length of the street and was starting back when a policeman stopped him and told him that what he was doing was against the ordinances of the City of LA, he would have to stop. Daddy knew the Bible said, “Obey those that have the rule over you” and he (gladly) stopped, knowing that he had finally fulfilled his promise to the Father.
I feel that daddy brought that trial upon himself; I don’t think God would have shoved him out of his comfort zone if he hadn’t made that rash promise! Sometimes God just asks you to fish in your own lake. What was young Harry’s lake? He had been the leader of a large motorcycle gang called the East Los Angeles Falcons, which later became the Hell’s Angels, and when he began preaching these guys all wondered what had happened to their former leader! He was holding a tent meeting on Goodrich Blvd. in Los Angeles and as he preached he heard the motorcycles coming down the street, they roared louder and louder and circled the tent until it was surrounded. They all sat on their bikes until finally the new leader got off and came and leaned against the center tent pole. My dad continued to preach and another one of the guys came in, then another and another until they had all dismounted, all was quiet and when daddy extended the altar call those guys all came forward for prayer.
He had the right bait to catch those guys and he caught a whole string of them!
You remember the story of Jonah, in his case God asked him to do something that he was afraid to do, go to Nineveh and tell them to repent! He, like young Harry, hid from it, got on a ship going in the opposite direction and the way God turned him around was that the fish caught Jonah and swallowed him! While Jonah was in the fish he prayed a prayer that touched God because, like my dad, he told God he was sorry and that he would keep his promise if he just had the chance! Well you know the end of that story, Jonah was barfed up onto the shore and he hit the sand running, preached the Word, the King repented and had the whole country in sackcloth and ashes including the animals! God spared them!
Before you go out and buy a rod for deep sea fishing, try fishing in the pond in your own front yard, there are probably family members or those you work with who are hungry for the bait you have and you wont have to make a promise that you don’t want to keep like young Harry and Jonah!