Thursday, July 9, 2009

Catfish Christians

My daily route to the office and back takes me by a series of beautiful homes, ranches, pastures, and across portions of Lake Fork. It is a beautiful commute.

With one exception. A catfish. A large catfish. Hanging on a fence post. He's been there quite a while. Apparently, the owner of that property caught a nice big catfish and wanted us all to know it. So he slipped the bottom jaw of the catfish over the top of a t-post and left him there.

And left him there.

And left him there.

Some people hang wreaths on their doors. Others have ornate signs decorating their driveway to inform us that "The Hendersons" live there.

But this is Texas. We're liable to hang anything from a prized catfish to a freshly-killed coyote over our fences. We even pull up to the local diner with our tailgates down, facing the highway so everyone can see the deer, hog, or snake we kilt (that's how we say it...not killed...kilt...don't tell a Texan that a kilt is a man-skirt unless you want to wind up on our tailgate).

Back to the hanging catfish. It's July. Not July in Ontario. July in Texas. The catfish has been there so long, I can't even remember when I first saw it. But it's been months. Catfish aren't supposed to be brown. But they get that way when they've been out of the water and in the sun long enough.

It really doesn't even resemble a catfish any more. There's not much left but bones and fried dried fish flesh. Jerky anyone? Sorry.

Do you know what I've noticed about myself? Even though I know the catfish is gross, I still look. I even anticipate it.
"Here it it comes...there it is...ewwwwww..."

Half a million dollar homes to look at, and I barely see them. The most beautiful lake in Texas with the most awesome-looking bass boats on it, and my thoughts are elsewhere. But I notice the catfish.

That catfish got me to thinking about Christians. The same thing that happens to a catfish out of water happens to a Christian out of fellowship with Christ and His church. We get dry. Crusty. Hardened. It's hard for a leathery soul to feel much. Christ will never leave us nor forsake us, but we can take leave of and forsake our call to follow Him.

What kind of Catfish Christian are you today? Are you enjoying the cool waters of an ongoing swim with Jesus? Or are you flopping around on dry ground, starving yourself of what you most need to truly live?

That cafish didn't turn brown overnight. Your heart won't harden toward Christ overnight, either. It happens gradually. We need fellowship with Christ as regularly and importantly as we need oxygen. But we let so many things get in our way.

Something the preacher or the Sunday school teacher or the deacon said... The way sister Lulu looked at you... Whatever tries to get in your way, do me a favor. Try to imagine a catfish swimming itself right out of the lake onto dry ground and climbing up to the top of a t-post because of what Mr. Bass or Miss Perch said...

Sound ridiculous? Sure it does. That's the point.

Off the Fence Post, Into the Fish Pond...
Perry Crisp

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