“And Jesus said to them, ‘Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men’.” (Matthew 4:19)
If we have any doubt about what weighs most heavily upon God’s heart, then Jesus tells us that it’s the work of evangelism. God’s great passion is to fish people out of the sea of sin and to save them from drowning in their fallenness.
It is the concern of each member of the Godhead. In John 3:16 we discover that it is the passion of the Father, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish.” It is also the first priority of Jesus, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which is lost” (Luke 19:10). Likewise, it is also the business of the Spirit who, according to John 16, will come to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgement.
We find this same concern in the wisdom literature of the Bible as well as the apostles. The writer of Proverbs says, “He who wins souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30). In other words, if you are a wise and godly person, your first priority will be to seek and save others who are lost to God. If you are thinking correctly about the world and its plight, this is the logical thing to do. This is certainly how Paul felt because he said, “I am a debtor to Greeks and to non-Greeks, to the wise and to the foolish” (Romans 1:14). Paul knew that he had an obligation both as Christian and an apostle to seek and to save the lost.
It is the task of evangelism that Jesus gives to His disciples. He emphasizes its importance in the words of the Great Commission. This means that bearing witness to Jesus should be a central concern to us whether we are pastors, process works or public servants. As Christians we are called to be “fishers of men”.
However, our problem is that we tend to keep the gospel to ourselves. We fail to share it as we should. In that sense we are similar to Luigi Torezio, a man who collected the best violins in the world (246 of them) and stashed them in his house – unplayed. He wanted to possess them for himself. He never worried that others couldn’t hear them. He was untroubled that people were denied the beauty of their song. In that sense, he was like others before him. Do you realize that the greatest Stradivarius violin was 147 years old when it was first played? Someone had hoarded it.
As Christians we must not keep the gospel to ourselves. We have an obligation to share it – to start playing our violins – and become “fishers of men”.