As I grew up near the Gulf of Mexico, my family taught me to fish, and one of the keys to fishing is the tides and weather. For us to have a successful day out on the water and a huge catch, all of these elements had to be just right. After checking the forecast and the beautiful sunshining, my family and I would head to the piers for what we expected to be a great day, but we never had control over the number of fish we would catch.
As I ponder what I have learned as a child about fishing, I find myself now reflecting comparing my childhood experience to spiritual fishing. For someone to come into a relationship with Jesus Christ, everything has to be just right. A follower of Christ must be obedient. The Gospel must be presented. The Holy Spirit must be drawing them closer to repentance. All of these elements and some other things must occur for someone to respond to the Gospel.
A survey by the International Bible Society indicated that 83% of
all Christians make their commitment to Jesus
between the ages of 4 and 14, that is, when they are children or early youth.
The current Barna study indicates that nearly half of all Americans who accept Jesus Christ as their savior do so before reaching the age of 13 (43%), and that two out of three born again Christians (64%) made that commitment to Christ before their 18th birthday. One out of eight born again people (13%) made their profession of faith while 18 to 21 years old. Less than one out of every four born again Christians (23%) embraced Christ after their twenty-first birthday. Barna noted that these figures are consistent with similar studies it has conducted during the past twenty years.
As we read the research, we have a spiritual forecast of the conditions ready for the big catch. As a student pastor and a father, I must continue to uphold and preach the Word of God. We do not have control over what the person's decision will be, so we must fully trust in God to do the rest.
18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. (Matthew 4:18-20, ESV)