As a kid, sheep were my favorite animal and even though fishing isn't my favorite thing to do, it can still be fun. But my recent thoughts haven't been centered on a woolly animal or fun hobby, I've been thinking about these two roles in a spiritual sense.
In Matthew 4:19, Jesus told Simon and Andrew, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." These two men had made a living catching fish, but now as followers of Christ they'd be fishing for men. Much about their "occupation" changed, but there were some similarities. They still needed equipment, bait and a place to fish.
Friend, the same is true for you and me...when we accept Christ, He commands us to fish for people. We can't be content to stay in our safe, familiar, Christian circles, but must be in the world and not of it. We must be equipped...put on the armor my friends. (Eph. 6) We must be secure in our own faith if we want to share it with others...be a fisherman who continues to grow while you work. We also need bait...the Gospel is the most effective bait there is. You can also attract attention by the way you live, things you do and words you say. Pay attention, others are watching and God can use you to "catch" them.
Though I occasionally join my family for a fishing adventure, I would not consider myself a fisherman. But God created me, and you, to be one for Him and to impact His kingdom. You don't have to buy a boat or take a trip for this fishing experience though!
As time went by Simon, also known as Peter, continued to fish for people. Eventually he was given another role as well. In John 21, we read of his conversation with Jesus. After he's deserted Christ and denied Him, Jesus asks, "Simon, do you love me more than these?" Peter responds with a yes and he's told to "feed my lambs, take care of them and feed my sheep." He's instructed to do the things a shepherd does.
Friends, if we told Jesus we love Him, I believe He'd want us to do the same. He wants us to care for His children from the youngest to the oldest and He wants us to feed them. Now you don't have to go to a farm to do this and you don't have to be a pastor or Bible teacher either. We can all pour into someone and share the lessons God has taught us. If you're a mom, this must begin with our children.
Friend, as I thought about this, it's interesting to see both of these commands - to fish and shepherd, are given to the same person. God doesn't call some to fish and others to care for the sheep...we are to do both. The beauty of this is He created us all to do it in unique ways. You may be more comfortable with one role over the other, but don't neglect the responsibility of the work God has called us to. He wants to use us as fisherman to lead others to Himself and also as shepherds to care for His sheep.
Your life may look more like my husband who spends much more time fishing than tending for sheep, but yet he does do both. And the same is true for my dad as he cares for his sheep year round, but occasionally takes time to put his pole in the water. Embrace where God has you, how He's gifted you and what He's called you to and then look for opportunities to be a fisherman and a shepherd too! Take it from my daughter, both roles are enjoyable!!
|Jed and Joy caring for an orphan lamb.|
|Joy and her 40 pound catfish.|