Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Grandest Title a Minister Can Own - Mark 1:17

"And Jesus said to them,
'Follow Me, and I will make you
fishers of men."
(Mark 1:17)

Pastor. Evangelist. Preacher. Elder. Shepherd. Overseer. Minister.

I have to admit that when I pause to think on the various titles given to those set apart to proclaim the good news of the gospel these 7 always pop into my mind long before the title that Jesus gives. Yet, this title, "fishers of men" is the first title, the earliest title, mentioned in the gospels. It is the title that Jesus Himself uses and it tells us a lot about the role, duty, and calling of those who have been ordained to serve our Savior. It also tells us of our need to stand in the gap, fervently praying for those who are striving upon the sea of souls. A faithful pastor's work is never done. I know, I'm married to one!

J. C. Ryle writes beautifully on this idea of ministers as fishers. He says:

"The meaning of this expression is clear and unmistakable. The disciples were to become fishers for souls. They were to labor to draw men out of darkness into light, and from the power of Satan to God. They were to strive to bring men into the net of Christ's church, so that they might be saved alive, and not perish everlastingly.
 "We ought to mark this expression well. It is full of instruction. It is the oldest name by which the ministerial office is described in the New Testament. It lies deeper down than the name of bishop, elder, or deacon. It is the first idea which should be before a minister's mind. He is not to be a mere reader of forms, or administer of ordinances. He is to be a fisher of souls. The minister who does not strive to live up to this name has mistaken his calling.
"Does the fisherman strive to catch fish? Does he use all means, and grieve if unsuccessful? The minister ought to do the same! Does the fisherman have patience? Does he toil on day after day, and wait, and work on in hope? Let the minister do the same! Happy is the man, in whom the fisher's skill, and diligence, and patience, are all combined!
"Let us resolve to pray much for ministers. Their office is no light one if they do their duty. They need the help of many intercessions from all praying people. They have not only their own souls to care for, but the souls of others. No wonder that Paul cries, 'Who is sufficient for these things?' (2 Corinthians 2:16). If we have never prayed for ministers before, let us begin to do it this day."

Thanks Mr. Ryle. That is a good reminder both for the fisherman and for all of us who have been fished out of the surging sea of sin and set safely into the river of redemption. It is a hard job and truly no one is sufficient in and of themselves. Therefore, look to Jesus, my brothers - He who Has called you is faithful to equip you!

Striving to pray more for my fisherman, Phillip and for all his fishing buddies,

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