About the Author
Shannon Ethridge is the best-selling author and coauthor of numerous books, including Every Woman’s Battle and Every Young Woman’s Battle.As a writer, speaker, and lay counselor, she seeks to help women of all ages discover the joy of pursuing a mad, passionate love relationship with the Lord rather than looking for love in all the wrong places.” Shannon holds a master’s degree in counseling and human relations from Liberty University. She lives in east Texas with her husband, Greg, and their two children.
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Daily reading: Matthew 4:18—25
Key passage: One day as Jesus was walking along the shore beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers–Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew– fishing with a net, for they were commercial fishermen. Jesus called out to them, “Come, be my disciples, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and went with him. (Matthew 4:18—20)
Greg and I had been dating for several months, and he asked to take me somewhere special for my birthday. He’s going to propose, I suspected. I’m getting an engagement ring for my birthday! Christmas was just around the corner, and I had already bought him a camcorder and placed it under my tree. I decided to give it to him early so we’d have it for the trip.
We’ll be able to get his proposal on video!
My birthday arrived, and we sat in Greg’s Ford Bronco by Broken Bow Lake. “May I give you your birthday present now?” he asked. “No! I have to give you your Christmas present first!” I insisted. He opened the camcorder and was delighted with his new, high-tech toy.
We played with it long enough to figure out how it worked, then I caught his cute face on camera as he repeated, “May I give you your present now?”
“YES!” I exclaimed. He reached behind the seat and brought out a brand-new…rod and reel ! I couldn’t believe it. He gave me a fishing pole for my birthday! Greg rambled on all afternoon in that tipsy canoe about his fishing adventures, how much he loved the sport, and how glad he was to have a girlfriend who was willing to fish alongside him. I kept thinking of things I’d rather be doing–like getting engaged!
A few men in Jesus’ day also loved to fish, but Jesus had something else in mind. “Follow me…and I will make you fishers of men,” He urged Peter, Andrew, James, and John (Mark 1:17, NIV). They didn’t argue. They dropped their nets, abandoned their boats, and dedicated their lives to the highest of callings: to draw others into a relationship with Christ.
Chances are, you’ve come to know Christ because someone fished for your soul, whether it was a parent, preacher, teacher, or friend. Are you willing to do the same?
Perhaps you’re thinking, Well, evangelism is not really my thing. God has often called people to do things that were uncomfortable for them…that weren’t their “thing.” And if these people had let their discomfort stop them from doing what God had asked, we would all be without hope. Think about it. What if Noah had said, “Building boats isn’t really my thing”? Not one person would have survived the flood, and the human race would have been terminated right then and there. What if David had insisted, “Writing psalms is not really my thing”?
Millions of people would have missed out on some of the most comforting poetry ever written. What if Mary had replied to the angel, “Virgin births aren’t really my thing”? She would have missed out on an unequaled opportunity to serve God and humankind. What if Jesus had said, “Crosses aren’t really My thing”? We would be doomed, both now and forever.
Life is about much more than simply doing our own thing. We can live for a much higher purpose–God’s thing, drawing people to Himself. Our heavenly Bridegroom seeks a bride who will go fishing for souls alongside Him.
Let’s reflect for a moment on how God likely feels when we refuse to go fishing with Him. Imagine your husband walking you down the aisle, placing a wedding band on your finger, committing his life to you, and providing abundantly for your every need. Yet, instead of proudly proclaiming to be his wife and striving to be his helpmate, you decide to go incognito on the whole marriage thing. You keep your maiden name and refuse to wear a wedding band because you don’t want others to know you are married. You choose not to talk about your husband or your life together for fear that someone might discover your secret. You fail to listen to your husband when he expresses his most pressing needs for your assistance. How will he feel about your commitment to him? Not so convinced of your all-consuming love, right? Right.
God feels the same way when we choose to be incognito Christians. If we hide our relationship with Him and ignore His desire for us to be “fishers of men” because we’re too embarrassed to be evangelists, how will He feel about our commitment to Him? Actually, we don’t have to answer that question.
Jesus already did in Luke 9:23—26:
Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose or forfeit your own soul in the process? If a person is ashamed of me and my message, I, the Son of Man, will be ashamed of that person when I return in my glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.”
The idea of our heavenly Bridegroom being ashamed of us when He returns is almost too painful to think about. If we are ashamed of Jesus, we must question the authenticity of our relationship. But if we are not ashamed of Christ and want to share His love with others, Scripture says Jesus will not be ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters (Hebrews 2:11), and that God is not ashamed to be our God (Hebrews 11:16).
Perhaps the idea of knocking on doors to invite people to church or passing out tracts on street corners doesn’t appeal to you. That’s okay. There are far more effective means of inviting others to experience God’s love. We’re going to discuss many of those ways in this book. If you are ready to more naturally and effectively draw others toward God’s extravagant love, then read on to find out more about how you can live a completely irresistible life.
HOLDING HIS HAND
Magnificent Holy Father,
We rejoice over the fact that You are never ashamed to be called our God, and we sincerely hope we are never ashamed to be called the bride of Christ. Open our eyes to the vision You had in mind when You called us to be “fishers of men,” and give us a heart to naturally draw others toward You.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.