The Signs of the Times


July 19, 1905

Fishers of Men


And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers. And He saith unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him. And going on from thence, He saw two other brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him.” ST July 19, 1905, par. 1

The prompt obedience of these men, without one question, without one promise of wages, seems remarkable; but the words of Christ were an invitation which implied all that He meant them to. There was an impelling influence in His words. He made no long explanation, but what He said had a drawing power. ST July 19, 1905, par. 2

Christ would make these humble fishermen, in connection with Himself, the means of taking men out of the service of Satan, and placing them in the service of God. In this work they would become His witnesses, bearing to the world His truth unmingled with the traditions and sophistries of men. By practising His virtues, by walking and working with Him, they were to be qualified to be fishers of men. They were to be His prime ministers. But He did not tell them to go to worldly schools, to obtain the advantages of worldly cultivation. He did not tell them to go to the Jewish synagogues to learn of the rabbis their customs and traditions, in order that they might be prepared for the work He had for them to do as His evangelists. They were not to be teachers after the manner of the Jewish educators. “Follow Me,” Christ said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” ST July 19, 1905, par. 3

Thus the first disciples were appointed to the work of the Gospel ministry. For three years they were workers with the Saviour, and by His teaching, His works of healing, His example, they were being prepared to carry on the work that He began. ST July 19, 1905, par. 4

His treasure of knowledge was put into earthen vessels. By the simplicity of faith, by pure, humble service, the disciples were being educated in the school of Christ to carry responsibilities of the same kind that He was bearing. ST July 19, 1905, par. 5

Certainly Christ chose the foolish things of this world, those whom the world pronounced ignorant and unlearned, to confound the wise. The disciples were unlearned in the traditions of the rabbis, but with Christ as their example and their teacher, they were gaining an education of the highest order. Christ was preparing them to proclaim truths of the highest order. ST July 19, 1905, par. 6

Requisites to Preaching Christ

Those who preach Christ must learn daily of Christ, in order to understand the mystery of saving and serving the souls for whom He died. They must bring into their work no pride or self-indulgence. In thought, word, and deed they are to reveal the spiritual refinement, the Christlike courtesy, that connection with the Saviour gives. His love and compassion are constantly to be manifested in their lives. ST July 19, 1905, par. 7

“Follow Me,” said the great Teacher, “and I will make you fishers of men.” Those who obey this call must work with hearts filled with Christlike love for souls. In all things they must follow the example of the Saviour, sharing His tender compassion and His sternness against all evil working. Christ is the great Pattern for all. We are to be workers together with Him. Those who are in His service are to separate from all business entanglements that would tarnish their Christlikeness of character. The fishermen that the Saviour called straightway left their nets. Those who give themselves to the work of the ministry must not entangle themselves in business lines that would bring coarseness into their lives, and hinder them from making advancement in spiritual things. ST July 19, 1905, par. 8

In this closing work of the Gospel there is a vast field to be occupied; and more than ever before, the work is to enlist helpers from the common people. Both the youth and those older in years will be called from the field, from the vineyard, and from the workshop, and sent forth by the Master to give His message. Many of these have had little opportunity for education; but Christ sees in them qualifications that will enable them to fulfill His purpose. If they put their hearts into the work, and continue to be learners, He will fit them to labor for Him. ST July 19, 1905, par. 9

He who knows the depths of the world's misery and despair, knows by what means to bring relief. He sees on every hand souls in darkness, bowed down with sin and sorrow and pain. But He sees also their possibilities; He sees the height to which they may attain. Altho human beings have abused their mercies, wasted their talents, and lost the dignity of godlike manhood, the Creator is to be glorified in their redemption. ST July 19, 1905, par. 10

The burden of labor for these needy ones in the rough places of the earth, Christ lays upon those who can feel for the ignorant and for such as are out of the way. He will be present to help those whose hearts are susceptible to pity, tho their hands may be rough and unskilled. He will work through those who can see mercy in misery, and gain in loss. When the Light of the world passes by, privilege will be discerned in hardship, order in confusion, success in apparent failure. Calamities will be seen as disguised blessings; woes, as mercies. Laborers from the common people, sharing the sorrows of the whole human race, will by faith see Him working with them. ST July 19, 1905, par. 11