The Catch

by Andy Wood on September 11, 2009

in Turning Points

(A Turning Point Story)

bass 2“So I guess you’ll write something about this in your article,” my dad said. 

“Probably,” was my reply.  Probably, indeed.  I don’t know what you do with your fish stories, but mine wound up in the freezer.  And somewhere in heaven, Jonah must have been smiling.

Long ago now – about 15 years – I took the kids fishing.  This trip was a lot more fun previous ones because they were able to bait their own hooks.  All totaled, they caught 18 fish, and loved every minute of it.  I just caught one.  But I had no complaints. 

“Asking to be caught.”  That was my interpretation of what Daddy called “guarding his nest.”  I called him Big Boy, and for good reason.  He was the biggest bass I had ever seen in all my years fishing the family pond.  And what was most amazing was that I actually saw him!  Hovering in the water there, about three feet from the dam, he just stayed in one position. 

Silently, breathlessly, I flirted with Big Boy for an hour.  Meanwhile, all around the pond the hoopin’ and hollerin’ made it clear that this was a day for fishing.  One by one, the family would wander by and watch excitedly as I drug one lure after another by the big fish.  He’d casually glide over to investigate from time to time, but generally remained unimpressed.  Everyone else decided that enough was enough and left the pond, but not me.  How do you walk away from the biggest fish you’ve ever seen when he isn’t ready to leave?  The kids loaded up in the back of my aunt’s pickup and hurried over to get a big net.  We figured if we couldn’t hook him, we’d try to net him.  I know, that’s cheating.  But all’s fair in love, war, and fishing in the family pond.  Anyhow, I kept fishing.  And just as the pickup arrived with the net, Big Boy met his match.

Ho, boy, what a thrill.  What a breathtaking thrill.  Everything you’ve ever seen on those fishing shows, with the monster fish thrashing out of the water – I saw it all.  Oh, and it was a good thing we had the net.  The line broke as we lifted him from the water, and he landed in the net.

PondI learned some things that day, not only about fishing for fish, but being what Jesus called “fishers of men.”  Peter and Andrew, James and John understood exactly what He meant.  And while I’m no angling expert, I think the parallels are fascinating, and too many to mention in full.  But here are a few:

  • It takes patience, timing, and the right kind of bait.
  • If what you’re doing isn’t working, either you need to go where the fish are, or you need to change bait.
  • Some fish – and some people – are worth waiting for.  They may not come as quickly as we want, but they’re worth the wait and the effort.
  • Every catch, big or small, is a reason to hoop, holler, and celebrate.  Take the deep satisfaction I felt and the unbridled joy of the children, and multiply it by myriads – that’s what Heaven is like when one person is “caught” for the Kingdom.

Now there is one major difference, of course. Jesus didn’t die for fish.  He died for people.  Young and old, big and small, “trophies” and “throwbacks,” He loves us all.  And He sends you and me out to reach them.  Imagine what could happen if we approached catching people with the same sense of adventure and pride that we do when we’re going after fish. 

Guess what?  Today, Big Boy is in the ministry.  Well, at least part-time.  Mounted on a piece of driftwood, he’s hanging on the wall of a men’s Sunday School class to remind us of the thrill of going after fish and people.  ‘Course, whenever I get a chance, I slip and do a little bragging, too.  But when you have a story to tell, you just have to talk about it!  Don’t you?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

maymie ledbetter September 24, 2009 at 12:34 pm

“Some fish – and some people – are worth waiting for. They may not come as quickly as we want, but they’re worth the wait and the effort. ”

Andy, this is so true…. and God has an amazing way of waiting until we are in a position that we can not take the credit for it either. He waits until we are out of every possible way to say “I did that!” You know the story of my Husband and 10 years into our marriage God has amazed me and brought me to my knees and humbled me in so many ways through Shannon’s salvation!!! I think God is calling Shannon “Big Boy”!!!!

Andy Wood September 25, 2009 at 9:29 pm

Maymie,

I think you’re right! It’s so exciting to see what the Lord has done and is doing in your and Shannon’s life!

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