A Fish Story by Pastor James Collins

Pastor James Collins


And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.Matthew 4:19

Last month, I volunteered to take twenty middle school kids to church camp. When I arrived at camp, one of the organizers came up and whispered, “You need to know that some of the boys in your cabin have… behavior challenges.” I later discovered, behavior challenges meant trying to escape the camp, treating me like a human piñata, and setting fire to my sleeping bag. At least I wasn’t in the sleeping bag when they burned it up. Oh well, boys will be boys.

“Fishers of men” was one of the camp lessons. On that day, we took the children fishing. There was one little boy named Caedmon. He came up to me and said, “Pastor James, I have never been fishing. I have never caught a fish. Can you help me?” Thinking it would be easy, I said, “Sure.”


Two hours later, Caedmon still hadn’t caught a fish. He had lost his bait about a hundred times, but he had not caught a fish. He was very upset. Through tears he sobbed, “I really wanted to catch a fish.” I determined to make sure he caught one.

We cast out again. I helped him hold his pole. He said, “It feels like I’ve got something.” I helped him reel him in. We had caught a good-sized bundle of moss. As we lifted it from the water, Caedmon was very excited.

“What kind of fish is it?” he asked.

“That’s a legendary mossy fish,” I replied, “It’s very difficult to catch. Good job.”

“Can we have it for supper?”

“Yeah, but this mossy fish is kind of small. Let’s try one more time.”

Caedmon cast the line out again. I said a prayer. As soon as the bobber hit the water, it went under. I jerked the pole and screamed, “Reel him in Caedmon.” He was elated as he wrangled with the fish on the other end of his line. His laughter echoed across the pond.

“What a whopper!” I exclaimed as he held up his catch. It was only a tiny bluegill, but to Caedmon it was a twenty-pound bass.

“Can we have it for supper?” he asked again.

“You bet.” I answered.

That night, the camp cook came to my rescue. We had fish sticks.

If only we got as excited about fishing for men as Caedmon did about fishing for mossy fish and bluegills.

The other day, I saw a bumper sticker on the back of an old pickup truck that read, “Life’s Short: Fish Hard.”

There is much wisdom in that bumper sticker. As Christians, we are “fishers of men.” We have been commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ to share the gospel, and we only have a limited time to do it. Life is passing. How quickly 10, 20, 30 years pass. All too quickly those friends and family members we always wanted to talk to about Jesus Christ are no longer with us.

The point is: Life’s short: Fish hard. As obedient followers of Jesus, we should “fish hard” to bring others to Him.

When was the last time you went fishing? When was the last time you told someone about the love and salvation we have in Christ? Have you reached out to your neighbors with the good news? How about people at work? Friends? Family?

Time is running out. Get busy fishing.

James Collins is senior pastor at Fort Scott’s First Southern Baptist Church. He can be reached at (620) 223-2986, or through the website thepointis.net.

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