Monday, September 03, 2012

"Mending Their Nets"

It's a tedious job. Fishermen sit for hours going over their nets, looking for places to repair, to untangle if necessary, in order to get them prepared for the next day of fishing. The necessity for such work is obvious if fish are to be caught in the nets and the day of fishing is a success.

During our Lord's time on earth, as He began His earthly ministry, He was on the lookout for disciples whom He could make to become fishers of men. Is it not significant that He called hearty, faithful fishermen to the task of fishing for men? Many of the natural qualities and techniques for successful fishing are pointedly suggestive of spiritual qualities needed in service for Him.

In Matthew 4:18-22, the expression, "mending their nets" is found. We read, "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 other two 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."

The word "mending," in the expression "mending their nets" is an interesting word in the Greek language. W.E. Vine, in his "Exposition of New Testament Words," tells us the word is "KATARTIZO." It not only means to repair, or mend, but also to arrange, to adjust, to complete, to furnish, to equip and to perfect. These various thoughts are seen where the writers of Scripture use the word.

If the necessity of "mending their nets" is obvious, in order to catch fish, can we not see that we are taught by this fact that there is a necessary spiritual preparation in service for the Lord to men? Without a doubt, there is an arranging, an adjusting, a repairing and an equipping first of all ourselves before we can be of helpful spiritual service to others.

By the Ascended Christ, gifts are given to the assembly for this purpose. In Ephesians 4:11,12, we read, "He gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." The Greek word translated "perfecting" is the same word translated "mending in Matthew 4:21. In order to carry out the ministry each believer is appointed to fulfill as a member in the body of Christ, he must himself be perfected, adjusted, equipped, or if need be mended by the ministry from the Ascended Head, through the gifts He gives to His assembly. This ministry is the ministry of the Word of God by the enlightenment and power of the Holy Spirit. This is what God has given for arrangement and order according to His mind to be guidelines and directions with instructions and corrections for our life in fellowship with Him and His people—His Assembly—here on earth. Only as we follow His Word in His order and arrangement ourselves, can we function according to His mind for His pleasure and become contributors to the "mending" or "perfecting" of others.

God Himself is engaged by His Word and Spirit to "make you perfect" (the same word) in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ" (Hebrews 13:21). Not only does God desire a good work done, He desires it to be done according to His will. It is doing a good work in a right way and manner that will please Him. To answer to this, how imperative it is that God does work in our souls in the "mending" of our thoughts and ways to conform to the thoughts and ways of His beloved Son! He lives in us for this purpose. This arranging, adjusting, and equipping is actually the forming of Christ in us by the power of His Word and Spirit manifested in practical ways.

With this "mending" accomplished, it is then that fitness is rendered in order to reach out in helpful"mending" of others. In Galatians 6:1 we read, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore (or, mend, adjust, repair, equip) such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself lest thou also be tempted." The spirit of meekness is produced by God's "mending" of our own souls. It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit's work. It is the very quality seen in the One who said, "I am meek and lowly in heart." It gives us proper thoughts of ourselves through the comprehension of the gracious work of God in us, and puts the one overtaken in a fault in proper perspective as one not more needy than ourselves of the gracious ministry of God's Word and Spirit. "Mending their nets" is truly labor. But, it is labor not dependent upon our own ability. Rather it is a result of yielding to His adjusting ourselves and then, as clay in His hands, being used by Him as His instruments by His power for the "mending" of others.

—D.T.J. (Moments With The Book)

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