Thursday, May 8, 2008

Fishers of men

Avoch Bay

The preacher is compared to a fisherman. The fisherman’s vocation is a toilsome one; woe be to that minister who finds his calling to be otherwise. The fisherman must go forth in rough weathers, and at all hazards; if he should only fish in a calm sea he may often starve. So the Christian minister, whether men will receive the word with pleasure, or reject it with anger and wrath, must be ready to imperil reputation and risk comfort; yea, he must hate his own life also, or he is not worthy of the heavenly calling.

The fisherman’s is a rough occupation; no dainty fingers may come in contact with his nets. It is not a trade for gentlemen, but for rough, strong, fearless men, who can heave a rope, handle a tar-brush, or scour a deck. The ministry is not meant for your dainty souls who would go delicately through this world without a trial, an offense, an insult, or a sneer. Such work is meant for men who know how to do business on great waters, and can go abroad upon the sea, not fearing the spray or the waves. The fisherman’s calling, too, must be carried on perseveringly; it is not by one grand haul that a man makes his fortune; he must constantly cast forth his net. One sermon makes not a preacher; he who shall but now and then deliver himself of some carefully prepared oration, is no true minister of God. He must be instant in season and out of season; he must cast his net in all waters; he must in the morning be at his work, and in the evening he must not withhold his hand. To be a fisherman, a man must expect disappointments; he must often cast in the net and bring up nothing but weeds.

The minister of Christ must reckon upon being disappointed; and he must not be weary in well-doing for all his disappointments, but must in faith continue in prayer and labor, expecting that at the end he shall receive his reward.

From a sermon entitled "The Two Draughts Of Fishes," delivered April 6, 1862. Flickr photo by Dave Conner; some rights reserved.

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