The Messy Part of Fishing

     I did a lot of fishing as a kid. My dad started me off at a very young age. I still remember how after my sister had caught a blue gill, I exclaimed, “Hey Dad, throw one in for me now!” I was only four and thought that dad must have had something to do with the fish getting on that hook.
     From my dad’s love of the outdoors and the water in particular, I began to pick up the hobby as my own. A friend and I were so into it that we used to get up before dark and ride our bikes to the river in early summer to have our lures in the water by dawn. We fished like real fishermen. We kept the fish that were big enough to eat, took them home, cleaned them ourselves, and put the meat in the fridge for dinner. Fresh fish was a delicacy in my home.
     I’ve learned that there aren’t very many fisherman who actually clean fish anymore. When people tell me their fish stories, I usually ask, “Do you keep the fish you catch?” I’ll usually hear something like, “No, I don’t like to bother with the mess…” It’s one thing to enjoy the catch. It’s another thing to deal with the messy aftermath. But for me, the best part of fishing was the final outcome….DINNER!
     I rarely fish anymore. But I take Jesus’ words to his first disciples, personally, “I will make you fishers of men.” I view my life as that of fishing for Christ-followers. And I try to keep the fish I catch. There is a thrill in the initial catch but the real reward comes when you see the process completed. I said to friends last night, “I get no greater thrill than to see God change the lives of people.” I then added, “But fishing is messy.”
     In John 21, we love the story of how Jesus told the disciples to throw their nets on the other side of the boat, and when they did, they caught so many the boat began to sink. Fishing is messy. Not only did they have to struggle to get themselves and their catch to shore, they then had loads of fish to clean and torn nets to repair. The success Jesus gave them added to their workload!
     I was sharing with someone recently a few stories of people who’s lives are being changed. As I spoke of the background of some of our new Christians here at The Bridge, and some of the struggles in overcoming their past, etc., his eyes started to glaze over and he responded in such a way that indicated that he didn’t think having to deal with such “messes” would be worth it. I disagree. Its the mess that makes it all the more rewarding.
     All Christians want to talk about how we are called to fish for Jesus, but few want to deal with the mess of keeping and cleaning the fish we catch. But that’s part of it, and in fact, where the real reward comes. I’m glad we have strong stable Christians here at The Bridge. But I am even more thrilled that we get to clean up messes. I’m glad that we are privileged to participate in God’s sanctification process of being involved in people’s lives to help them become what God wants them to be. Sometimes, that’s messy. But it is so worth it!
     Join me on this fishing expedition! But don’t quit with landing the fish. Don’t shy away from or be discouraged by the mess. Enjoy the whole process. That’s when the real reward comes!

One Response to The Messy Part of Fishing

  1. Scott December 29, 2009 at 3:02 pm #

    Scott, Throughly enjoyed! Great analogy and convicting! Sometimes I get tired of cleaning us the mess, but you put it in a perspective of discipleship. I'll join you on this fishing expedition, only I'll fish where the weather is more agreeable!

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