When Fisherman Don't Fish

In his book In The Eye of the Storm, Max Lucado tells this great story about an ill-fated fishing trip he took as a kid with his Dad and his best friend Mark. They set up camp and were looking forward to some great fishing when a cold front came through and as a drizzling, very cold rain. They spend the day playing Monopoly and reading the Reader’s Digest...but things go downhill from there.

The hours passed slowly but they did pass. Night finally came, and we crawled into the sleeping bags dreaming of angling. Were we in for a surprise. The next morning it wasn't the wind that made the door hard to open, it was the ice!

We tried to be cheerful. "No problem," we mumbled. "We can play Monopoly… again. We can reread Reader's Digest and surely we know another joke or two." But as courageous as we tried to be, it was obvious that some of the gray had left the sky and entered our camper.

I began to notice a few things I hadn't seen before. I noticed that Mark had a few personality flaws. He was a bit too cocky about his opinions. He was easily irritated and constantly edgy. He couldn't take any constructive criticism. Even though his socks did stink, he didn't think it was my business to tell him. It was a long day. It was a long, cold night.

When we awoke the next morning to the sound of sleet slapping the canvas, we didn't even pretend to be cheerful. We were flat-out grumpy. Mark became more of a jerk with each passing moment. Dad couldn't do anything right; I wondered how someone so irritable could have such an even-tempered son. We sat in misery the whole day, our fishing equipment still unpacked. The next day was even colder. "We're going home" were my father's first words. No one objected. I learned a hard lesson that week. Not about fishing, but about people. When those who are called to fish don't fish, they fight.

When fishermen don’t fish, they fight! When the church stops looking up (to worship God) and out (to serve and teach others), we start looking inward at ourselves. And when that happens, we start fussing and fighting over issues that aren't really issues. When we were clearly focused on the cross and on reaching out to point others to the cross and to serve others in the name of the cross, then peripheral issues will stay on the periphery. It is during times of peace when soldiers get into fistfights in the barracks; in the middle of a war, you are too focused on the enemy. When fisherman don’t fish, they fight. Maybe we need to get busy fishing.