Earlier today I was listening to an audiobook. As the reader began to quote a familiar passage of Scripture my ears perked up. “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19) I had heard this passage all my life. In fact it was one of my father’s favorite verses and part of it is now engraved on his tombstone. Most of the time when I heard this verse my mind focused on the part about being fishers of men. My desire has always been to be used of Christ but so often I find myself falling short. I want to be a fisher of men but often I feel guilty that I do not witness enough or am not the best evangelist. At the end of each day I have often beat myself up for lost opportunity. I also tend to look at others who seem to share their faith more frequently than I and begin to belittle myself for not being a good fisher of men. For the first time I realized that what the verse says is that if I follow Christ He will make me a fisher of men. My responsibility lies in the following not in trying to become a good fisher.
Knowing that I am not responsible for the fishing but only for following lifted a huge burden off my shoulders. My focus shifted. Following Christ, the One I love came into full view. This seemed more attainable than becoming a good fisher. But what does following Christ entail? It means that I must know Him. I must know His leading. I must stay in tune with His heart and His purposes. Following perhaps is not as easy as it sounds. Following involves giving up control. It means I am not in control. I cannot chose where I go. I cannot chose what I say. I cannot chose who I see. Following means that I have guidance in all my interactions. The twist is that when I am not acknowledging my leader, who is Christ, in every aspect of life I am suddenly no longer following. I am trying to do work for Him while He sits on the sidelines. I could witness to 100 people a day but if I do it out of my own desire to be a good fisher and not out of the heart of a follower this act of witnessing is worthless.
So often I view Christian success by church attendance or how many people I have talked to about the Lord. Yet the greatest success is in becoming a good follower. As I follow He leads, guides and directs in ways far beyond human understanding. When this happens He begins to make me into a fisher of men and I know without a shadow of doubt that it was Him who did the work and not I. In my human mind I could never begin to comprehend the ways of God.
Christian success lies only in following. Followers don’t get the glory, only God does.