For the past few days, my wife Tracy and I have been camping with family at Bull Shoals State Park on the White River in Arkansas. Each day consists of getting up early, taking the boat out on the river and working to catch the daily limit of rainbow trout.
Tracy's father is an excellent fisherman and has years of experience on this river as well as other lakes and rivers throughout the state and Texas.
I, on the other hand, have very limited fishing experience. In other words, I don't know what I'm doing. Nevertheless, this has been a great week and we have caught our share of trout (Tracy easily out-fished me. For every one I caught, I think she had three or four.)
A Bad Day Fishing Is Better Than a Good Day at Work
I now understand fully the phrase "A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work."
So, as I sat on a boat for hours, throwing a fishing line into the water, I had quite a bit of time to think. For years, I've heard pastors reference Jesus' fishing illustrations in sermons. Here are some of the random thoughts regarding fishing and faith that came to mind, in no particular order:
- It is good to be with someone who knows what they're doing while fishing. Mentors are vital. The Bible refers to this as "making disciples." (2 Timothy 2:2)
- Sometimes, it's time to cast on the other side of the boat. (John 21:6)
- The river is continually flowing. . .quickly. It's like the culture - changing quickly. The anchors we dropped were essential to allow us to fish effectively. (Hebrews 6:19)
- Clean, proper bait is needed to catch the desired fish. (1 Corinthians 9:22)
- We have to move the boat on occasion, otherwise, we're throwing lines out to empty water. (1 Timothy 4:7-10)
- Sometimes the fish just play around with the bait, but never bite. This can be frustrating, but you just cannot make the fish bite. (Psalm 115:6)
- If I had just stayed in the camper, read about fishing, talked about fishing and even developed great plans for fishing. . .I never would have caught anything. (Mark 16:15)
Then, I saw this sign posted in the park.
I couldn't help but think that many people use Jesus just like they do life jackets. You know, they want to keep him close. . .but not too close. Unfortunately, unless you "wear the name of Christ" the life jacket will do no good.
You must be born again. (John 3:1-21)
A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work, but here's the reality: There is no such thing as a bad day fishing.
As Christians we cannot worship vicariously. We cannot outsource discipleship. We must not just talk about sharing Christ with those in need of the Gospel (and we are all in need of the Gospel.)
And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Matthew 4:19 (ESV)