One of my responsibilities in giving leadership to Campus Crusade for Christ is to meet each year with the ministry directors of each continent.
Frequently in my travels to Asia and Europe I visit with our staff and meet with thousands of pastors and laymen. On one occasion while meeting with a group of Christian leaders, I shared some of the highlights of the great worldwide spiritual harvest that is taking place today. One of the leaders interrupted me.
"I'm thrilled with your report," he said, "but I want to be very frank with you. I have not seen that kind of ministry myself. Why am I not having a more fruitful ministry?"
Perhaps you are asking yourself the same question. In the following pages, I want to share a biblical plan that will enable you to be fruitful in your witness for our Lord wherever you are, wherever you go, and under all circumstances.
Becoming Fishers of Men
But before I share this plan with you, let me call to your attention the fifth chapter of Luke which records an incident in the life of a seasoned fisherman -- Simon Peter. He and his fellow workers had spent the entire night casting and gathering their nets but had not caught a single fish.
Jesus observed these men as they were washing their nets and asked Peter to push out a little into the water so He could sit in the boat and speak to the crowds that were pressing around Him.
When He had finished speaking, Jesus made a promise to this fisherman - a promise that I believe Peter, weary from his futile night of fishing, initially thought foolish. Jesus told Peter to go out a little further and let down his nets. If he did so, he would catch fish. Luke records Peter's response and what happened as a result:
"Sir," Simon (Peter) replied, "We worked hard all last night and didn't catch a thing. But if you say so, we'll try again."
And this time their nets were so full that they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
Jesus told these fishermen who were so awestruck with this demonstration of His power, "From now on you'll be fishing for the souls of men!" They were so overwhelmed with the presence and power of Jesus that they left their occupation to follow Him.
Two Important Questions
There is no experience in life more exciting and spiritually rewarding than the adventure of fishing for people. As you follow the Lord's instructions, your net too can be filled - even if you have never introduced anyone to Christ - even if you may be skeptical like Peter. But if you are also obedient like Peter, the Lord Jesus will honor you with the response of many people to your witness.
All over the world, I have asked two questions of millions of Christians - young and old, rich and poor, new Christians and people who have been believers for more than half a century. I have asked these questions of some of the most wealthy and famous Christians in the world. The answers are always the same no matter whom I ask.
- What is the most important experience of your life?
"Knowing Christ as my Savior is absolutely the most important experience in my life," is the inevitable answer.
- What is the most important thing that you can do to help another person?
Again, the answer is always the same: "Help him to know Christ."
I am sure that, if you are a Christian, you would give the same answers to these questions. Yet, how sad it is that so few Christians are sharing Christ with others. Obviously something is wrong. If you are typical of the majority of Christians today, you have never introduced anyone to Christ. You would like to do so, however, and you know in your heart that this is what God called you to do. Jesus calls to every believer, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men."
When you begin to fill your nets with people whom you introduce to Jesus Christ, you will begin the most exciting, joyful and rewarding adventure life has to offer. Perhaps, like the disciples, you will leave the nets of your present student, business or professional involvements to follow Him in this great adventure of witnessing for our Lord in your Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the far countries of the world.
The biblical plan I want to share with you can be divided into two categories -- personal preparation and taking the initiative.
Adapted from the Transferable Concept: How You Can Be A Fruitful Witness, by Dr. Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Cru. All rights reserved.