Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Mark 1:16-17
Ron’s father was a well-known evangelist. His sermons were simple but powerful and memorable. The one I remember most was the one entitled, “What Is That In Thine Hand?”
He re-told the story of Moses holding a shepherd’s staff in his hand. God called him to become a leader of His people but Moses declared himself unqualified. God asked him what that thing was in his hand? He answered, “A staff.” God didn’t intend for Moses to leave his shepherding skills behind. Moses would use that same staff to lead people out of slavery.
Simon and Andrew were fisherman. It’s all they knew. Jesus didn’t tell them to stop being fisherman. They would keep fishing but would fish for men instead of fish. Their fishing skills would be translated into the kingdom counterpart. God gave them two decades of experiences related to fishing. He wasn’t going to waste their knowledge. He would expand it. Fishing is about timing. Fishing is about using the right bait. It’s about catching a few one day but then hitting a windfall the next. Doesn’t this sound like evangelism? And isn’t strategy and timing also pertinent?
What was in my hand as a teenager? A piano and a flute. A love for telling stories. A love for hurting people. Instead of going into social work or attending music school to play the flute in a symphony, God called me to relinquish control of what I was grasping for myself. A ministry was born. Today, I use all the skills and experiences of my childhood.
Perhaps you’ve wondered how your love for a certain ‘thing’ could have anything to do with a ministry. Maybe you’ve felt like your past experiences (painful ones) were wasted. No. God doesn’t work like that. Today, someone’s eyes are flying open to put the puzzle pieces of their life together. In God’s work, even with suffering, there is joy and wonderment. What is in your hand?
You do all things well. I’ve seen 62 years of it. Amen