A fishing illustration
Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine and the conversation turned to friendships. Because of the strong connection many in society seem to have with their electronic devices, the art of conversing with real people has been lost. It seems many have a hard time making friends or even understanding what it means to be a friend resulting in an epidemic of loneliness. As we talked, my friend gave a great example on how we are to behave as friends, one that I hope she doesn't mind me borrowing and elaborating on!
She shared with me that while she was praying about the topic of friendship, the Lord gave her the illustration of fishing and how it connects with friendship. Now, I think it only fair to warn you that since I don't fish, I am not acquainted with many of the terms but I do know the basic idea.
Cast your line
In order to catch a fish, you have to cast your line, you can't expect to catch anything with your pole still laying at the bottom of your boat. It requires you to take action by using said pole. Once that happens there is a chance that you may get a nibble or hopefully a bite. Sometimes the wait is long and there are moments when you think you might have a bite only to discover that the bait is gone leaving you empty. However, there are those moments when you nab the big one, I mean the one you have been dreaming of your whole life. You leave that fishing spot feeling happy with a soul that is so full it could burst. Those are considered the best fishing days!
Now let's reel this in (yes that pun was completely intended!) and talk about the connection between fishing and people. We are told that "a man that hath friends must show himself friendly" Prov. 18:24. This indicates work, we are to be intentional about seeking others out. Friendships usually don't just happen, they take time to cultivate. Anything worthwhile takes effort. I am blessed to have several friends in my life but each of them took work. I reached out to them, they reached out to me. We text one another, we remember birthdays and special occasions. We pray for each other and make ourselves available. We share each others burdens and celebrate our joys.
The first hello
Just like we will never catch a fish if we never cast our line, we will never gain a friend if we never go outside our comfort zone. Sometimes we need to say the first hello, give the first compliment or extend the first handshake. It would be foolish of us to say we don't have any friends if we have not put forth the effort to make ourselves approachable or approached anyone ourselves. I know that to do this requires us to open ourselves up to someone else and that means opening up to love as well as pain. We can't let the fear of what might be prevent us from enjoying what can be. Jesus calls us His friends and continues to open Himself to us even though we have disappointed Him so often. To love is to experience joy as well as loss, but the joy will always outweigh the loss. There will always be differences between friends, no one is just alike and that is what makes the relationships interesting. We should embrace our differences and enjoy the diversity in our relationships. I have been enriched by the people in my life because they are not like me, they have challenged me, encouraged me and made me a better person. Of course we should never be with others who will draw us away from the Lord but seek to be with those who are walking the same path. We are to encourage each other, lift up one who has fallen and help others reach their full potential. I am so thankful for the people God has placed in my life because I would not be the same without them but it often required me to reach out and say hello.
Just like in fishing, there are times when we cast our line only to discover that a smart fish has taken our bait leaving us with nothing but empty hopes. There are people out there that simply see you as someone that can be used to help them gain something they needed; as soon as they have what they need you get dropped. It is hard to be used like that or find our you were merely the "rebound" friend. This is truly a hurtful experience, believe me I have been there many times, but we need to realize that it is not representational of the whole human race. Baitnappers (yes, I think I just made that word up) will always be around and in time we may be able to spot them, but let us never stop casting our net simply out of fear of being hurt. Let's be willing to put ourselves out there, to look around outside our circle and take a chance. This may require us to put down our phone in order to see the people around us, it may mean we have less time to do our favorite hobby because we are spending the afternoon with a friend, or it may be that we need to train ourselves to be more thoughtful by sending a text or note to someone to let them know we care. What we invest our time in shows what we care most about, Christ's time on earth was spent with others. We are here to care.
Fishers of men
God has called us to make a difference, to be the light in the world and spread His love to those around us. We can't do that if we stay within our comfort zone or disconnect from the world around us. We need to be in tune with Him and allow Him to guide our steps each day. Above all, it will always require us to be willing to be used, to cast our line into the pool around us. We may never know who we will "catch" and how it will make a difference in their life. So many good things have come from a simple hello, let's cast our line today and be fishers of men.
I stumbled on this illustration many years ago and fell in love with it, it is so beautiful and paints a wonderful picture of our Bible. I hope you enjoy it and that it is a blessing to you!
I entered through the portico of Genesis and walked down through the long, Old Testament art gallery, where I saw hanging on the walls, hundreds of paintings of such persons as Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Melchizedek and Methuselah, Abraham and Isaac, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and Benjamin, Moses and Aaron, Sampson and Delilah, Esther and Ruth, Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar. I stepped then into the music room of the Psalms, where every reed of God's great organ responded to the tuneful harp of David.
I walked then into the business office of the Proverbs, and the chamber of Ecclesiastes where the voice of the Preacher was heard, and into the conservatory of Sharon, where the lily of the valley's spices filled and perfumed my life.
Then I entered into the observation rooms of the prophets, where I saw telescopes of various sizes, some pointing to far-off events, but all centered upon the bright star which was to rise above the moonlit hills of Judea for our salvation.
Leaving the Old Testament, I then stepped into the correspondence rooms where sat Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, James penning their epistles.
I stopped then in the Jerusalem Travel Agency, where I saw mission travel brochures, some with sailing dates and others with caravan schedules, but all with such First Century destinations Judea and Samaria, Corinth and Ephesus, Antioch and Cypress, Philippi and Thessalonica, Berea and Crete, Galatia and Malta, Athens and Rome.
Finally, I stepped into the throne room of Revelation where I caught a vision of the King sitting on His throne in all His glory, and I cried, "Let angels prostrate fall, bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all."
This past week I have read the story of Hannah but I wasn't prepared for the conviction I would feel. We are familiar with her story, it is one of faith and a willingness to give back what God gave her, but there was much more to her story, something I wasn't prepared for. I read her prayer of desperation, her cry of despair and her depression. In her deepest moment of agony she went to the One who could heal all her wounds and who would hear her cry. While these are amazing truths from her story they are not my main focus.
As I read deeper into her story, and tried to place myself in her position, I thought of how willing she was to let go of what she desired most. She longed to be a mother, to remove the title of barren from her life, but what is interesting is that she was willing to give back this precious child to the Lord. Hannah was a woman who understood the importance of having a light grip in this life. She asked God for a son, a son she was willing to have for a short season, a son she promised would serve Him all of his life. I find that amazing. Honestly, I would have wanted to keep him for myself, not lose him after waiting for so long. But not Hannah, she had a light grip of the things of life and a tight grip on the Giver of life. She teaches us that we are to hold the things of earth lightly but cling tightly to our God.
Another truth about Hannah was her ability to enjoy the moment. When Samuel was born she knew her time would be limited with him. Being transparent with you, I would have probably been caught up on what was to come and missed what was. She knew that time was short but instead of letting it consume her thoughts, she chose to embrace today. She relished every moment she had with her little answer to prayer. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in what's coming and forget to enjoy the present. We are to embrace the now and take pleasure in the season we are in currently. The only future event that is to be in our minds is the coming of our Lord because it helps us stay focused.
The last truth from Hannah's life is to have no excuses. Here was a woman who had just received all that she ever wanted, a son. She had wept, endured cruel remarks from others about her obvious lack and suffered a soul crushed by disappointments. When her husband comes to her and tells her they are going up to do the yearly sacrifice she simply states that she will not go until the child is weaned. Once little Samuel was weaned she brought him to the temple and left him to serve the Lord. Human nature wants to come up with an excuse to delay fulfilling of promises that we have made, we want to find a reason to prolong our side of the deal. But not Hannah, she weaned Samuel and took him without delay to fulfill her vow to God. She was a woman of integrity and a great example to her son of the importance of keeping a promise made to God.
These truths were very convicting to me and have been in my mind all week. This world is not my home and the things within are only temporal. I truly admire Hannah, a woman who understood that a light grip was necessary for this world. May I be like her and hold loosely the things of earth but tightly to my God.
I am just an ordinary girl who is loved by an extraordinary God and I seek to love others the same way. I love to bake, read, do puzzles, watch Hallmark movies, and go shopping with my mom! This blog was created as a place where I could share some thoughts that the Lord has shown me and to be an encouragement to others who desire to know Him in a deeper way. My prayer is to learn to sit still and trust God with my future.
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