When I was a little girl my dad was always going fishing and sometimes he took my brother Ronnie and I. We went fishing below the dam at Calhoun, we went fishing in the surrounding ponds and lakes and we went fishing at Kentucky Lake. He had the best fishing Bass boat. Although my mother wasn’t fond of him going and buying a boat without her knowledge, she was quite upset because she was the one who handled the money. When dad wanted something, he went and bought it and then told mom to make it work.
Although he wasn’t fond of all kinds of fish, he mostly fished for Bass fish and Stripes. I not only liked to eat Stripes but I found it quite exciting to fish for them. During our summer camping trips, dad would take us out in his boat, looking for the Stripes. He had his favorite spots on the lake. He would constantly tell us to be quiet or we would scare the fish off. When the Stripes started jumping out of the water, we would all start casting our line in which every time you cast out, you were sure to get a fish. Dad knew I hated to take my fish off the line, so he would sit there and watch Ronnie catch and me as fast as we could, reel it in and then he would take the fish off our hook and re-bait. There is something about watching your children enjoy the thrill of something you also like to do. Even though daddy wasn’t fishing at that time, he enjoyed watching us squeal with glee over our trophies. When the Stripes were not jumping, fishing was pretty boring.
Fishing takes patience and it take preparation. I remember helping him make the jigs and sinkers. I don’t know why he made his own because I never asked him. I just thought it was very interesting how he would let me drop the metal pellets in the melting pot. He was very careful in how he poured the hot liquid into the molds. I wonder how much money he spent over the years with this hobby called fishing? To prepare for fishing means you must have the rod and reel, lines, bait and all the other accessories. His boat had to be up to guidelines with the proper equipment and those ugly orange lifejackets he made us wear. Of course the Bass boat wasn’t just a fishing boat but also a wonderful family activity when it came to skiing. From the necessities to a cooler full of drinks and sandwiches, fishing was a big deal in our life.
Looking back and reflecting on fishing, I can relate to Jesus when He tells several parables about fishing. I had the opportunity to stand on the banks of the Sea of Galilee this past November when Jeff and I went to Israel. I thought about how fishing was a big part of the lives of the first believers and during the time of Jesus. Fishing was not only an occupation but also a lively hood for most people and families. Fishing brought families and friends together and at times it increased their faith when they obeyed. In one instance, a fish produced a coin to pay taxes. Fish was a big part in feeding multitudes not only once but twice. Jesus told His disciples to follow Him and He would make them fishers of men. How does one become fishers of men? You must prepare and you must have passion to fish. You must go where the fish are, sometimes it may be exciting and sometimes it can be quiet boring. Sometimes you can catch people to live for God and sometimes they slip away back into the water of this world. Anyone can be a fisherman, but you must prepare before you go and go with expecting to catch a multitude. The next time you go fishing, think about catching a soul for the Kingdom.
Prayer: Thank you Jesus for all the times my daddy taught me how to fish and the memories I have of fishing. I pray that I use the inspiration to be a fisher of men and bring souls into Your Kingdom. Amen.
Matthew 4:19: “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”(NIV)