Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Monday, September 5, 2016
Each year, worker safety organizations publish a list of America’s most dangerous jobs. The list reports occupations where a person is most likely to die on the job, along with the reasons for the inherent danger. Year after year, the profession of a fisherman ranks near the top of the list. If you’ve ever watched the program “The Deadliest Catch” you can appreciate the dangers.
A fisherman’s life is hard. These brave souls must accustom themselves to the diverse difficulties and hazards that accompany their occupation. Fishing requires hard labor in the best of times and often demands great exertion after long periods without rest. Fishermen are often wet, cold, hungry, fatigued, and under siege by storms, but still they must toil. On average, almost 60 fishermen die each year, more than 30 times the average worker death rate.
The risks are little different for the fishers of men. When Jesus called brothers Peter and Andrew along with James and John to be fishers of men (Matthew 4:18-21), He called them from one form of fishing to another. Little did they know they were moving from one dangerous occupation to an even more risky business – that of preaching His Gospel.
The disciples Jesus called, except for Judas but including Paul, were all martyred except for John, who was exiled. God’s first apostles had an almost certain chance of being killed on the job – only one of the twelve loyal apostles escaped martyrdom. Yet the disciples went gladly when Jesus called them.
It wasn’t long after Jesus’ own death that Stephen was stoned. Shortly thereafter, James was beheaded, leaving only ten disciples out of the original twelve. Yet despite the losses in their ranks and their impending martyrdom, Jesus’ chosen few were not disillusioned or afraid. Instead, with God’s help, they were able to manage the duties of this risky business in order to establish the foundations of Christ’s church.
You’ll be comforted to know that today the odds are much better. Statistics I reviewed stated that missionaries have only a one in 50 chance of being killed. The risk of a fisher of men being killed today is far less than it was for the early apostles and the odds of surviving are vastly improved. Are you interested? Are you ready to say “Here I am. You called me.” (1 Samuel 3:4-5) or “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8). God is accepting volunteers immediately if you find it in your heart.
Jesus told us, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25). How often Jesus spoke with double meanings – thirst for water vs. thirst for living water, hunger for bread vs. hunger for the bread of life, and more. With discipleship, losing our life applies to both our occupation and literal death. When He calls us to lose our life for Him, He means not only our ambitions and desires, but quite possibly our mortal existence.
Being a fisherman of any type is risky business. Being a fisherman for Jesus Christ is perhaps the most perilous occupation you can choose in terms of losing your physical life. In contrast, the occupation of working for Jesus is the safest for gaining entry into Heaven and the most rewarding work spiritually.
According to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Council, more Christians were martyred in the 20th century than in all other centuries combined. Despite the risks, being a fisher of men is what every normal person should choose because it always advances our spiritual life. We don’t all need to be missionaries, but we should all be teaching His normal ways to others. The greatest risk a person has in this mortal life is not finding Jesus, which leads to eternal death. Are you being a normal witness to others?
God doesn’t guarantee safety for His fishers of men; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. He does provide a guarantee that our eternity will be safe and secure. Pray today for those who are doing His risky business. Pray also for those who are in the most risky business of all – rejecting Jesus Christ as their LORD. A follower of Christ can only be killed (Matthew 10:28). Those who choose not to believe will suffer an eternal second death (Revelation 20:14). That’s a risky business God would like to eliminate completely.
A servant of Jesus Christ
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