"Fishers of Men"
January 17, 2014
... And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." Luke 5:10b
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Allow me to share a true and inspiring story. It is the story of how the Lord used a man who left everything he had to become a fisher of men.
Our tale begins with an elderly woman named Mary opening the door of her house and inviting a man and his family to come in and join her. Mary introduced herself and then showed them around her small, but very clean home. At one point she said, "And this is your room." Without further explanation she invited the family to join her for dinner.
Shocked, the man, his name is Kanat, asked her how she had known they needed a room.
"It wasn't difficult," the woman said. "I saw you at the bus stop with your suitcases. I knew the next bus wasn't coming until tomorrow, and you looked sad. Knowing nobody would welcome you into their home, I figured you had no place to stay tonight. That's when I decided to help you."
Kanat's confusion grew. He asked, "And how had you known nobody had accepted us?"
The lady answered, "I have been living here for more than 50 years. I used to be a teacher, so I know local people quite well. I know Mamed was expecting a family from out of town. Mamed is nice, but he wouldn't let Christians stay under his roof. You are that family, aren't you?"
Kanat replied, "We are that family and, yes, our plans had fallen through."
The lady added, "Our people are not eager to welcome strangers from other nations and religions."
The next morning they all had breakfast together. Kanat asked Mary how much they owed and if they might stay until the bus arrived. Mary looked for a moment and then she asked, "Are you going to leave without doing any work? Are you going to depart because of one frustration?"
Kanat was ashamed. Humbly, he confessed, "Please, forgive me, but I don't really see how I can stay in this village; there is no place for us."
Mary had an answer at the ready. She countered, "You can stay at my house until you find something suitable for your family. And, by the way, there is a home selling right in the middle of the village. Why don't you take a look at it?"
Kanat thanked the woman and went to see the house which was quite perfect. In short order an offer was made and accepted. Everything went well until they went to register the contract. Declining the documents the clerk said, "I will never let you buy anything in our village."
Kanat did not argue. He only said, "Then I will ask the Lord Jesus Christ to help me." Kanat left the unsigned contract.
Three days later the clerk's assistant returned the contract. It was registered!
That was the beginning of Kanat's ministry among the Uyghurs. Every day started with Kanat going out and greeting people with the words, "May God help you." The greeting got them to thinking and provided him with a constant reminder of the day God had helped him settle there.
One day Kanat met a worker who was digging potatoes. Kanat said, "May God help you."
The man shot back, "It would be better if you helped me instead of volunteering someone else!"
And Kanat did help. When they were done, the man, Arman, invited Kanat to his house for a cup of tea. Arman asked, "What on earth are you doing here?"
Kanat explained: "Before coming here I had a fishing business and was quite rich. My family owned a nice big house and several cars. One day I met a man, who told how Jesus had asked His disciples to catch men. I asked for and received a book about Jesus Christ. I started reading and couldn't stop. In the morning I asked the Lord to forgive me and give me eternal life. A year later I sold my business to one of the partners and left everything I had to come here. Like Jesus said, I wanted to be a fisher of men."
Kanat's story was told throughout the village. After that, many would shout, "Kanat, may God help you!" Six months later the Holy Spirit had brought many to the point where they wanted to know more about Jesus.
There were so many they needed a house for the church.
To make that dream a reality, Kanat went to the village council to ask if he might buy a building. This time the clerks put up no obstacles. On the contrary, they helped Kanat find the building for the church.
In half a year after Kanat's family arrived, they conducted their first service.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, open the nations, doors, and hearts that are shut to the Savior's story. Then, help us go through those doors and tell them of the salvation Jesus has won through His life, death and resurrection. This we ask in the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Alexandr Starchenko. He has been the director of the Lutheran Hour Ministries office in Kazakhstan since February of 1998. As an educator, he has received many awards from the secular world. As our director, he is much appreciated as he spearheads our media ministry, which promotes the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A husband, father and grandfather, Starchenko, a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Almaty, supervises the writing and preparation and delivery of Lutheran Hour Ministries' materials. In this Central Asian country, LHM-Kazakhstan employs youth-oriented programs that address life situations, teaching individuals how to use God's Word to make wise decisions. Its Pure Line Internet-based youth community is especially effective in connecting with young people. Using Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), this ministry center also works with people in prison. You can check out Kazakhstan's blog at lhmkazakhstan.wordpress.com.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries