Rock Fishing and Other Lessons
September 12, 2004
By: Donna Haug
I paused for a moment to stretch as the gentle ocean breeze ruffled the pages of the book I was studying. The sunlight reflecting off the white walls of the breakwater made me squint as I looked up to where my husband, Mark, and 11-year old son, Jonathan, were fishing. I smiled and shook my head as Mark came over once more to help his struggling protégé.
“Whatcha got there, son? Another ‘rock fish’?”
“Yeah, I can’t get it unstuck!” He’d gotten hooked up on the rocky bottom.
I chuckled as I remembered the little baby fish they had pulled out moments before. They weren’t having much luck! But did that stop them? Oh no! Along with a few other avid fishermen, they were perfectly content to cast as far as they could, stand and watch their lines, reel them in, and cast again. At the slightest twitch of the rod tip, all conversation would immediately stop and a hopeful fisherman would jump to his pole. Occasionally, I would hear one say, “Ach! They stole my bait again!” Out would come the can of worms and soon another poor, wriggling worm was on its way to its first and last swimming lesson with a severe cramp in its belly.
A while later, a commotion distracted me once more from my diligent study. Jonathan came running over to show me his big catch. It might not have been much, but this one was big enough for at least one person to eat! He was pleased as could be. Trying not to screw up my nose at the fishy smell assaulting my nostrils, I assured him of how proud I was of him. He had been patient, and it had paid off.
As he ran back to prepare his rod for yet another hopeful cast into the ocean, I considered the words of our Lord when He called his disciples to become “fishers of men”. I could see many similarities between the experience of my fishermen and the frustrations we as Christians face as we endeavor to share the gospel with our friends and neighbors. Sometimes it seems that no matter how hard we try, we just keep getting tangled up in the rocks of unbelief or scepticism. Other times our hopes get raised as we feel a nibble at our rod, but we get terribly disappointed when, instead of reeling in our new brother in Christ, we find an empty hook. It was all for nothing. Nothing had changed. Was it worth it at all to make the effort to talk to that person? We get tired of sharing and sharing and not being able to bring anything home.
I’ve learned from my own special fishermen that there is nothing wrong or discouraging about constant casting. Keep throwing the bait out there. Don’t give up in spite of the snags and bait stealers out there. As you refresh your hook with new bait, always having something to offer both mentally and spiritually, you will be prepared when the Holy Spirit leads someone your way. Above all else, my boys have taught me that patience is of absolute importance. Relax! Do your part and the fish will come, eventually. Just don’t lose hope. One more cast. Just one more and maybe you’ll catch the big one!
Colossians 4:5,6 “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”
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