Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Gone Fishin'

I love to fish. Fishing for me is relaxing, peaceful. From boat or shore I throw out a line and enjoy the view. I listen to birds, water, wind, God. Watch fish jump, birds dive, trees sway and creation dance. Feel warmth of sun and cool of breeze. Nice. So far so good.

Then, invariably my wife catches a fish. I grab net. She reels I coach, which is unnecessary, she knows what to do. With fish in boat I congratulate outside, inside I think, “Great and it was going so well, until now.” As I remove the hook it occurs to me I like to fish, just fish.

Catching? Now that is an entirely different story. Catching is work. My wife likes to catch. She will patiently fish with the same lure for hours. I change lures about every five minutes or so. I use snap swivels for ease of changing and lures that won’t catch weeds, won’t catch the bottom and may not even catch fish but they’re comfortable. My dad, he likes to catch too. Dad will do what it takes to catch. He’ll tie on lures if need be to keep the snap swivel from scaring fish. That’s plumb too much work if you ask me.

Then, to top it off, if you catch ‘em, you gotta clean ‘em. Yep, I like to fish. Just fish.
It occurs to me while cleaning these stinkin’ things, my kind of fishing is like Christendom in many ways.

I sit in beautiful church watch beautiful people sway to beautiful music. And listen to beautiful words flow from beautiful pulpit. I wonder. “Where’s the fish?” I talk to other Christians, shake hands and say, “Praise the Lord, all is well.”

I’m enjoying the ride but I’m not catching any fish, it’s too much work.

Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” If I’m not really trying to catch fish am I really fishing?

Lord help me. I’m willing to work and ready to do what it takes to catch. You helped Peter and the boys launch out into the deep for a catch, help me.


Anne L.B. said...

If you'll hang on for a metaphor switch, I'd like to point out that Paul said something like, "I plant, another waters, but God gives the growth."

SWITCHBACK! Keep fishing. Switch those lures as appropriate. Move the boat around to see different waters, different fish. Trust the Lord to direct you in all of the above, and be willing to do the messy job of cleaning when you actually catch something. Because Christians need ministry, too. Not everyone in church has been born again. And ALL of us need still need cleaning, so it helps when someone else is around to help with that.

Denise said...

Amen, I agree with the wise Anne.

Dusty Chris said...

I used to fish when I was in hook, no bait, no catching. Catching was too messy....but fishing brought me closer to God. A bad day fishing is better than a good day catching.

Great post.

Billy Coffey said...

Great metaphor, Doug. I think I need to work on my catching, too.

Doug Spurling said...

Thank you for your insightful comments. It seems this fish” story has illuminated three elements of one popular scripture.

Ephesians 4:11-13 “11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;”

Anne, your “Switchback” is received with gratitude. Your insights are always welcome here. In my humble opinion it seems you’re addressing “the equipping of the saints.”
I must admit I imagined the comments would be more like; “Doug, I have never won anyone to Christ that I know of. People are dying and going to hell all around me and I want to do something about it. I focused more on “… for the work of ministry,” The down and dirty work in the trench laborers for harvest. Like Billy's. Thanks Billy.

Dusty, it’s nice to meet you. Your comment speaks of the beautiful culmination of the two elements (equipping + working = “the edifying (building up) of the body of Christ.”

My prayer and purpose for this post is to expose complacency and birth a passion for the lost.

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

From one angler to another, this post ROCKED.

You're catching fish every day, Doug.

God has you throwing out the bait right here at Spurling Silver -- day in, day out.

And Heaven? It's like an everlasting Live-Well, isn't it?

Bonnie Gray said...

Hi Doug,

I never fail to pick up a reminder of something God talked to me about when I come visit with you here.

What a good bloggy friend you are -- as Jesus defined friendship - sharing what the Father has shown him.

I know what I'm supposed to do. I'm gonna go do it now. Will fill you in, if I catch anything. But, I'm gonna throw my line in.

Sarah Dawn said...

I have to admit, I hate to fish on a lake. But today, you reminded me of the joy of fishing in the world. That, I live for.

Joyfully His,
Sarah Dawn

Cherie said...

This was really beautiful. I stoppped on over from Jennifer's blog and I'm so glad I did! What beautiful imagery and a wonderful metaphor for the challenge we have today. Thanks for sharing this. It was wonderful to read.