A Fish Story
I guess everyone that has ever fished has a story about the fish that got away. When I was about six years old my fish story happened. I don’t remember who was all there or what the occasion was. I’m thinking we might have been in Alabama with relatives down there or it might have been at a local lake with my aunts and uncles. Anyway things get blurry in my memory and it was a long time ago. We were all fishing I can tell you that. I remember that it was a bamboo fishing pole that I had. Someone baited my hook, probably my mom and I was sitting there with my line in the water. I think it was my mom who happened to come by and she said “you’ve got one!” Not knowing what to do I pulled that fishing pole out of the water and way up in the air! It seems like the fish was like a dark blue color but I didn’t get too good of a look at him. While my pole was way up in the air apparently the fish jumped off of my hook and back into the water. It’s funny but I don’t remember anyone else even getting a bite that day. Still it seemed that everyone had an enjoyable time whether they caught anything or not.
My only other fishing experience was when I was 17 and a camp counselor at Living Waters Camp. Living Waters was a camp near Cassopolis Michigan where kids would come from all over for a week of camp experience and to learn about God. Camp Living Waters was surrounded by water and it’s springs produced the freshest water I have ever drank! Anyway a couple of times I got a fishing rod out and baited my hook with a worm and cast my line into the water. After sitting in the hot sun for a while both times without any bites I gave up. The equipment I was using was more sophisticated than the old bamboo pole. Strange that my equipment was better but something else must have gone awry.
Since my knowledge and experience with fishing is so limited you might wonder why I am even writing a story on the subject! Well years ago we had a visiting speaker at our church. His sermon was so memorable because his examples were all about sports! To a kid who loved sports he got my attention immediately! I remember he talked about a runner from the past. This runner was just another runner until he made himself elite. The story goes that this runner was tired of his middle of the pack finishes and wanted desperately to win. The thing that stood out about this guy was not his great ability but his desire. Although he had great desire and trained as much or more than anyone the results were the same. Then one day he had an idea. He decided that he would try to add extra weight to his shoes while training! At the time there was no scientific way to do this and it was ahead of it’s time thinking. He added lead weight to the outside of his shoes! He kept running the same distances in training but now with his special training shoes! Surprisingly the results were almost immediate as in races his normal track shoes felt so much lighter! He began to see his name shoot up the leader board in races and eventually he was at the very top! The message was that if you desire something bad enough you will come up with a way to accomplish your dream.
The speaker then began talking about fishing. He talked about fishing in general and then compared the average fisherman to the professional one. The average family might decide to go fishing like mine did years ago. They might decide to rent a boat or just cast their lines on the shore like we did. Usually the average person going fishing for the pleasure of the event just take some worms along for bait. Maybe if they get more advanced they might take along some night crawlers. Like my experience years ago it isn’t about how many fish you get. The whole idea of fishing is to get out and do something relaxing in the nice pleasant sun. It is a chance to get away from the world and get your mind on something besides everyday life.
The thinking of the professional fisherman is far different. While the leisurely fisherman has time to kill the professional’s time is very precious. They can’t afford to leisurely play around with their fishing! If they don’t have success in their attempts professional fishermen lose money. With this mindset they don’t go about their business with anything but a serious mind. They are determined to use the best bait at the best locations they can find for what they are looking for!
The speaker pointed out that the professional fisherman has many different lures in his tackle box depending on the type of fish he is going after. It is amazing to me how scientific fishing can be! Fish react to colors as well as movement! Companies specializing in making different fishing lures make millions of dollars every year. A professional fisherman doesn’t mind paying the price as long as the product works. They are always looking for the best way to do their job! They will pay the price for knowledge and tools. They figure that if they are in the right place with the right tools they will have success! Choosing bait is so important to catching fish! If you wanted to Bass fish here is an example. Bass like noise, Spinnerbaits and crankbaits with a good rattle work well! Also Bass love worms, especially worms that have salt in them. Plastic frogs and lizards work also. Most importantly, if you can figure out what the bass are eating where you are fishing use that knowledge! For example, are there a lot of shad where you fish, crawfish etc. Once you figure out what the bass are naturally feeding on, it’s a matter of finding the right colors, depth and retrieve for that natural look that will trigger the bass bite.
The example that I mentioned above is just for Bass fishing. Now multiply that by all the different fish that the professional fisherman might try to fish for and you can see how scientific the process can get! The casual fisherman doesn’t care about all of the baits and lures. As a leisurely hobby they won’t spend the money or the time researching what is needed. They are out for the relaxation of the sport and if they catch a fish now and then all the better!
In Mark 1 verse 17 Jesus called Simon and Andrew who were brothers and fishermen as they were casting their nets into the sea. “Come with me and I will make you fishers of men”, he stated. Immediately they left their nets and followed him! In another instance Jesus called out to some disciples who had spent the night fishing out on the boat. How is it going? When they explained that they had been fishing all night with no success he said “Cast your nets on the other side.” They could have ignored his advice, after all they were the expert fishermen. However they put their nets on the other side and the Bible said there were so many fish that it broke the nets! God knew where the fish were just as he knows where the hungry searching souls are!
Just as Jesus called Andrew and Simon to be fishers of men, he calls us to be fishers of men too! The contrast between fishing for men and fish is that getting caught as a fish is a bad thing, but as a person it is the best thing that can ever happen to them! We have to ask ourselves what kind of fishermen are we? Are we the leisurely type who like me at age six played fishing, or have we grown up to the point where we take the great commission that God has called us for very seriously? Is our hearts desire to do everything possible to lure the lost, or has our fishing become a leisurely lazy time with too many tales of the ones that got away?