I remember well the great pond war of 1972. My fellow 10-year-old fishing buddies and I made our way to our "secret pond" to enjoy some afternoon fishing. We walked for miles back into the deep woods of the Big Thicket National Forest in southeast Texas. It was a long, hot walk, but it would be worth it to sneak up on those unsuspecting fish and ease our lines into the water.
It would have worked, too, if there hadn't been another group of boys our age already there fishing! They were on the other side of the pond. Five of them. Four of us. The shouting ensued.
"What are ya'll doing fishin' at our secret pond?"
"What are WE doing here? What are YA'LL doin' here?"
Diplomacy was out of the question. This was war, pure and simple. We dropped our poles and picked up rocks. A direct hit was when you tossed a large rock and it landed in the water right in front of the enemy causing him to get hit with the splash. The enemies returned fire. The pond became a war zone of massive splash explosions on both sides.
We came to fish. We ended up fighting. Then a miracle happened. My friend, Jody, got tired of throwing rocks and started fishing. None of us knew it. We were all still heaving rounds across the battlefield.
Had I noticed Jody fishing, I would have ridiculed him with my professional opinion: "The fish ain't gonna bite now! We done scared 'em into lockjaw with all these rocks" (yes, I was a minnie hick in those days).
But I didn't notice. Neither did anyone else. Until we heard splashing over by Jody that didn't sound like rock-splashing. It sounded like fish-splashing. Like BIG fish-splashing! We looked over at Jody. His pole was doubled over and he was struggling to get that fish to the bank. When he finally landed the fish, he held up a 5 pound bass! Spinner baits and plastic worms from eight other fishing poles hit the water within seconds. The war was over. It was time to fish!
Jesus said to His earliest disciples the same thing He still says to His followers today, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19).
What is the church supposed to be doing? Fishing. What are most churches known for? Fighting. What do we need in our churches? Jody. We need someone to get tired of fighting and start fishing. When one person catches a fish, it inspires everyone else in the boat or on the bank. And when one person gets saved, it inspires the whole body of Christ to go after more.
"Father, I lay down my rocks and I pick up my gear. Show me where they are and guide my every cast."
Tying on my cross-shaped, crimson-colored sinner bait...