Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fishing Isn't The Same As Catching

The Chesapeake Bay at sunset.
     Our family recently returned from a trip to Virginia to see my Mom and Dad.  My parents are fortunate to live on the Chesapeake Bay.  A canal goes from their back yard into the deep waters of the bay.   Dad loves to be in his boats.  One of the highlight's of our trip is when he takes us  fishing.
Captain Don
      We motor out to where there is a sand bar hidden about thirty feet under the water.  The water is shallow enough for the fish to enjoy the warmth of the sun.  This is one of his preferred fishing spots.
      Dad always offers the privilege of putting the bait on the hooks to anyone who would like the job.  My kids will do almost anything - but not that.  There are no takers.  My boys chime, "That's gross, Grandpa."  Patty murmurs, "Nope," with a quick shake of her head.  I explain that, "I'm not a bait kinda girl."  My Dad cheerfully cuts, dices, and selects various yucky things that he thinks a fish would like to chew on a hook for.
Patrick
     For me, fishing isn't about the fish.  I enjoy sitting on a gently rocking boat, holding a pole, chatting with family.  I do not care if I ever catch a fish.  My children, however, are not so complacent.  They are happy and excited when someone catches a fish,  but in their heart of hearts each wants to be the one who reels in the biggest fish.
Patty -the fisher"man" of the day
     Patty is a patient fisher.  She casts out on her assigned corner.  She waits until she feels a tug on the line, or sees the end of the pole arch as a fish gives her bait an experimental tug.  When she reels it in there is a fish on the end, or her bait has been nibbled away.  On this trip, Patty caught two fish.
Anthony
     Anthony and Connor fish with enthusiasm.  They cast their lines about causing everyone near to duck fearful of being snagged by a hook.  When their bait settles near the bottom, contrary to all fishing wisdom, they begin to reel it back in.  Sometimes, this fast and furious pace works for them.   This time, not so much.
Connor squinting into the sun
     Our oldest son, Patrick, came with us, too.  He caught a crab.  The little creature was determined not to lose her meal, so she held on tight and took an elevator ride up to the boat.  When she hit the deck she scuttled about causing the kids to shriek and tangle their poles.  This crab had a bright egg sack on her underside.  We were able to get her back in the water by giving her a piece of rope to pinch her snapping claws on and gently lift her back over the side.

     Pat missed the trip this year, but when he comes, he wisely sits well out of range of the action of the children, the poles, flying hooks, gushy bait, and flapping fish.  His motto is, "If it's from the sea, it's not for me!"
     Fishing trips always remind me that many of the disciples were fishermen.
     As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men.  At onece they left their nets and followed him.  ~Mark 1:16
     Jesus called us to fishers of men, too, but we're not in this alone.  The  Holy Spirit is the One who causes the response.  There is a difference between being a fisher and a catcher.  All we are required to do is to fish.
     Think about your life journey.  How often did God use a person to drop a hook in front of you before you grabbed a hold of the new life you found in Christ?  I know God cast a lot of lines in my direction before I believed.
Buoy to mark a crab pot riding the waves in the sunset.
     My husband, Pat, was rather like the little crab.  When he saw the gospel he grabbed on so tight that he was pulled right up.  He has been known to cause people to shriek and run about, too.
     When a person decides to follow Jesus, to allow themselves to be caught up in the cause of the King,  even the angels in heaven rejoice.  Forgiveness is gained.  Broken hearts are mended.  Wounds are healed.  Lives are transformed.
     Jesus got into Simon's boat and sat down to teach the crowd of people.  When He had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."  Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything.  But because you say so, I will let down the nets."  When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.  So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.  So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.  ~Luke 5
     Do you go fishing with your family?  
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