Sometimes, when people want to hear me ramble on and on, they ask me about fishing. They figure if there is anything new going on, it probably has to do with me standing out in the water casting fly line as gracefully as my skills will allow.
I know a guy that likes to interrupt my fishing reports with a tale of his one day of fishing experience. I’m guilty of rolling my eyes as he tells the tale of not much but he wants so badly to dominate the conversation that he tries to sound like an expert because he went fishing once.
One thing is for sure, even though I am not an expert at any kind of fishing, since I get out there often and do it a lot, I don’t have to tell the same story over and over again. Even today as I type there are tiny cuts and scratches on my hands from trying to get my flies out of a trout’s mouth because I somehow managed to leave my hemostats in the truck.
I love going fishing. Maybe you know me well and know that this is true. I not only love going fishing, I actually go fishing. I know a lot of people that love baseball but they don’t play. People love football but they don’t go out and get tackled. I’m fortunate enough that I can participate in what I love and not have to just watch others that are better than I am do it.
Saturday morning as I parked the truck, the dash read four degrees. That was over ten degrees colder than any fishing day I could recall. I didn’t know how bad my guides on my rod would ice up or what fishing on a day like that feels like. Fog rose off the water into the cold air and froze on the dead, leafless vegetation along the banks of the river.
I got the rod out of its case and put my layers of clothing on. It didn’t feel too bad out there. We walked up to the spot we were going to fish and waded into the water. That’s the beginning of a great morning of fishing. We caught over fifty trout between nine and noon and headed off to lunch surprised that we did so well.
Things weren’t as good that afternoon but Sunday morning brought the fish back again in bunches even though the freezing rain and sleet bombarded us.
I’m sure that someday as I tell the story of this trip, that guy will interrupt me and tell that story of the one day he went fishing. That’s OK. When he starts relating that familiar story that may or may not be the real deal, I can start planning my next trip.
There are a lot of people that like to fish. They seem to have a real tough time doing it. If the weather is too hot or too cold, they don’t go. If it rains, they don’t go. If it snows, they don’t go. There’s nothing wrong with being a fair weather fisherman. I know I am a little crazy for getting out and fishing some of the times I do. I just love doing it. If I have an opportunity, I jump on it.
I’ve been fair-weather before. I’ve been one to make every excuse to disregard following God and running ahead hoping he is following me. I’ve read or heard what God wants me to do but I have explained carefully why this just isn’t a good time, or I don’t have the money, or I am too tired or blah, blah, blah. I’ve claimed to love God but more in the way a guy loves football. I’ve wanted to sit back and watch God work on other people while I lounged on the sofa and remembered that one time I participated.
If I had actually have gotten out there and got in the rain and snow and made up my mind that I love God and no matter what, if an opportunity comes along to serve him, I am going to jump all over it, I’d know a lot more about serving him and making it work. Instead, I am more like the guy rattling my teeth telling about the one time I almost was successful and decided to not do that silliness any more.
1 Corinthians 4:20 For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.
I’ve lived a life full of mindless chatter. In my spiritual life, I need to learn that I need to save the chatter for after I actually do something. On the way home from the fishing trip, we talked about how amazed we were about the results of our fishing. We talked about what we had learned and how good the exhaustion felt after enjoying ourselves so much.
The talk had meaning. It wasn’t about a distant memory that had to be embellished from time to time to maintain its significance. It was talk about action that we were kind of crazy to try but we had faith it was worth the effort, because we had tried crazy a lot of times before and it worked. We lived the lives of true fishermen and were rewarded.
I need to live the life of a true Christian and be amazed by the rewards even though I had faith they were there. I need to be able to step above the discouragement of those that choose not to participate in what they love and be willing to do what God calls me to do even if people say I’m going to be wasting my time.
There’s not a lot of fair weather in life. If I only choose to pick the prime times to do something, I’m tossing a lot of life in the dumpster. I’m sitting here this morning, planning to go on another winter fishing trip, hoping the weather isn’t too nice, the moon isn’t too full and the streams aren’t too crowded.
There’s nothing like standing up and telling the story of how success rose up out of adversity and challenge.