The husband went fishing today and left me to my own entertainment. He was long overdue to be out with friends and spending a relaxing day with pole and creel- pursuing a likely meal. I wished him much success as he left the house at the crack of dawn!
Lake City is a fine place to go fishing. As a matter of fact, people come from all over the country to do just that. Our little town has a river running through it and has long been known for quality fly fishing in the quickly moving currents and eddies of the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River.
Men and women in goofy, ungainly waders can be seen all along the river in the summer months standing in cold water with long poles, gracefully waving their line to artfully cast that carefully tied lure hoping to entice the hesitant speckled brookies and rainbow trout to come out for a bite.
Fishing isn’t always the relaxing, thoughtless summer hobby we see here this time of year. Sometimes, hardy souls around here go out and bore holes in the ice of Lake San Cristobal or Blue Mesa and fish for who knows what while freezing to death! I have from time to time watched that fishing show on TV called River Monsters. This guy with a British accent goes around and fishes for these terrible, and often enormous critters in the rivers of the world that occasionally eat the hapless, unsuspecting natives. Today, on the morning news I saw that several kids were bitten by sharks while swimming too close to a pier where fishermen were baiting for fish. In life, there are no guarantees: sometimes fishing provides us with a delicious meal and sometimes we are the delicious meal!
Jesus, when he first called his initial “fisherman” disciples straight from their nets and boats, he declared that if they followed him he was going to make them Fisher’s of Men! By our belief in Jesus and on his teachings we have now been called to carry on that fine Matthew 4:19-20 tradition. We tie our testimony of whatever powerful, wonderful things that the Lord has done in our lives onto our line- or weave that testimony into nets-and step to the water. We know lots of fish. Some are swimming in quick moving schools, some are lurking back under overhanging rocks in the river reluctant to come forward. Some are long- whiskered catfish that hale from muddy- bottomed, warm waters and some are beautiful flashy colored koi that populate privileged ponds. Some have teeth and can snap at you viciously and others just fly out of the water and into the row boat!
I don’t want to take this analogy too far. People, obviously, are more complex and relational than fish and most people are hungry and searching for answers in this life. A hook in the mouth is not necessary. Finding out that there is a God that loves and cares for their eternal salvation so much that He died for them is enough to draw them into the boat. And then, what unbelievable joy to discover that He fills those sails with the Holy Spirit to power their own fishing boat is that added empowering incentive to keep them ,and us, all moving and fishing as long as there is light!
Here in town you either go to Dan’s Fly Shop or the Sportsman to buy your fishing license. I believe in Jesus and obey what he tells me to do. My license is found in Mark 16:15-18. That was the disciples fishing license and verse 20 tells us that they used it all the time: “They went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the Word with signs following!” That is my fishing license, and yours too! We are not to just accept our salvation and then sit like a slug on the side of the riverbank.
It is not required that I know every Bible verse by heart before I share my faith with somebody or have every scenario or question worked out. It’s just good news that changed my life and has the power to Eternally change someone else’s too. Just go fishing. There is no limit. I am licensed and empowered to fish in any waters, at any time, conditions, age or weather. One does not have to have a lofty degree from a theological Science of Fishing institute to be qualified to participate. It is crazy simple and to be kept simple so that even little children can do it and do it well…..and the signs will follow.
Fishing shouldn’t be a dutiful chore. It is just something that we do- every chance we get. We probably work at other things in life, go places or do ” regular life” stuff all day long. But in the back of our minds, we should always be planning our next” fishing” trip. It doesn’t have to be something elaborately manuscripted or planned to the nth degree. Just a stripling pole, a prayer and a red and white bobber. See what happens.
Everywhere we go, we should just be joyfully sharing what Jesus has done for us:” Hey, guess what, I used to have terrible asthma and would never have been able to hike around in the woods and go fishing like this-BUT- I was totally healed in a wheezy instant- and Now I can get out and do this! Let me tell you all about it!” Then, they are gonna say no kidding? I’ve never heard of such a thing….and you say” Yes, that was 5 years ago. Instantly healed! Haven’t been sick since. Yes, Jesus still operates like that today, no kidding!” or ” Hey, guess what. I prayed for my friend the other day and they were healed, too. right there in my living room. Do you need prayer for healing?” or perhaps” Hey, Guess what? I had been thinking about so and so and they called me up out of the blue and asked for help and for deliverance so I’m heading over there tomorrow, and take care of that problem for them in the Name of Jesus.” Yes, I know. That’s what we are supposed to be doing. so I thought, hey, I’d just believe Jesus and go do it.!!” or tie it into current events ” Hey, so and so asked me what I thought about all the earthquakes going on in the world and I told them this was one of the things Jesus said was a sign of his coming back!” And people should be able to tell by the joy in your life that you are a Fisherman…”Hey, friend, since you asked me why I’m always so happy, I’ll tell you why….”