Like many girls from Wisconsin, I grew up fishing. We have many beautiful lakes and rivers which allows for some of the best fishing in the Midwest. I enjoy everything about it. I even bait my own hook- thanks to my dad who thought that would toughen me up. I’m not sure if that worked… but at least my husband thought I was cool the first time he took me fishing!
Speaking of my husband and fishing, I’ve never met anyone who moves the boat as many times as Aaron and his dad! If they drop anchor and do not have a nibble within two or three casts, they will pull up anchor and move. You may think I’m exaggerating… I am not. Steve: “There’s no fish here.” Aaron: “Nope.Let’s pull her up and find another spot!” It’s my new favorite part about fishing…. laughing at them while I eat some licorice.
When we eventually find the one spot where the fish are biting, you can also count on everyone in the boat casting in the exact same spot. As soon as someone says, “I’ve got something”…. You hear the plop of all the other bobbers hit the water…. one foot away from the original. As if the fish will think, “forget this worm- look at THAT one!”
While that strategy has worked a few times, the real key to catching a fish is simple. Cast, wait patiently for your bobber to move…… and then set the hook at the right time. I’m still trying to find that balance. I get excited when I see the bobber moving and in my zealousness I usually pull too hard. It’s a rookie mistake. All I can think is “Oops! I probably ripped the lips off again!
Some Christians approach has left many with scars and a bad taste after sampling what was set before them. As followers of Christ- we have what the world is hungry for.
The Bible tells us that we are to be “fishers of men” (Matt 4:19) and to the fish it says “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).
That means that we have the responsibility to package truth in a way that is attractive and enticing to others. I’m not saying that truth should be changed or watered down. I am simply saying that there are many strategies to catching fish. Not all fish like the same kind of bait. And the bait has to be taken before you can reel the fish in.
In your excitement, be careful not to set the hook when someone is only “thinking” about tasting. I see this happening all too often- especially among new believers. Their reasons for zealousness and excitement are obvious. Others of us have perhaps have never been taught how to fish. And the result is often a frustrating spiritual fishing trip without as much as a nibble.
The simple truth is that we need to make sure the bait is taken before reeling in. In other words; don’t give someone a speech about how to be closer to God or the list of things to start or quit if they haven’t even made a solid decision to follow Him. Keep in mind; they may only be looking at the truth. They may only be nibbling on it.
If all people see are a list of rules without first having a relationship with Christ- it’s not very palatable. It’s hard to stomach. And remember, rules without relationship breed rebellion.
So… If you’re constantly telling spiritual fishing stories of “the one that got away”…. Either you’re offering bait to fish that aren’t hungry or you might just need to change your approach!