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I love to fish for bass! I love the puzzle. Sometimes, I put it together and find the right combination of depth, speed, color and size and I catch a lot. Other times, I spend all day trying to figure it out and only pick up a bite or two, but I love to bass fish, every minute of it. I had the wonderful fortune to fish a Wounded Warrior tournament some years back with Staff Sgt. Jay Fondren. Jay had lost both legs, most of one arm and most of the fingers on his remaining hand, but Jay loves to fish too...so there we were lifting and lowering his wheel chair into the boat. And fish he could! With the rod tucked under what remained of his left arm, and reeling with what remained of his right hand, Jay won the boat that day. He out fished/out caught both Gary and me. By the way, Gary has qualified for 30 Bassmaster Classics, the long running world championship and most coveted title for a bass angler. 30! Only Rick Clunn has qualified for more with 32. Gary fishes the Bassmaster Elite tour and is one of the very best bass fishermen that this world has ever seen. Gary Klein loves to fish too. It was a brutally hot day and what little bite there was to be had, was on a plastic worm. Sloooooooow fishing. But we all were content and focused, because all involved that day enjoy putting the puzzle together, or at least trying. Hot as it was, slow as it was, Gary didn’t fire the boat up to make the 3pm weigh in until 2:55. We fished, and we enjoyed it.
Some folks don’t like to fish, they like to catch. I fully understand that, I get it. Catchin is fun! I put it right up there with fishin. Gary Klein and I have since that day had many opportunities to spend time together. He goes about bass fishing the same way that Ben Carson went about brain surgery, or Michelangelo went about the chore of painting the ceiling at the Sistine Chapel. He analyzes, picks, positions and ponders every single cast, never losing focus. To Gary, fishing is what happens in your mind while on the boat. The tools in your hand and at the end of your line are just that...tools. It’s a cerebral activity.
That brings me to fishing with the preacher. Pastor Tom is a trusted friend, and Tom loves to bass fish. Tom and I were on the boat last week. It was slightly cooler than comfortable and the fish were not active. But fish we did, til there was just enough light left to safely load the boat and get it to the house. Pastor Tom twice on that day expressed how he was enjoying it, even though he hadn’t had so much as a sniff of a bite. He’d make cast after cast after cast, retying this bait and that bait with optimism that this next lure just might trigger the bass. Working on the puzzle, and he enjoyed it. I sat there on the boat thinking of how fishing somewhat mirrored Tom's life. As a fisher of men, he has made many casts, always with optimism that one might embrace the love and gift of God’s salvation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Unlike the rod and reel in his hand, Tom can’t see the results many times as he fishes for men. He tells the Gospel truth, plants that seed, makes the cast. God tells us as believers to fish for men throughout the entire world, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14. Tom has fished for men in Russia, they even threw him in jail over there. Said he was fishing illegally. In truth, they just don’t want to be out fished. He’s fished in the Navajo Nation, and just about every place he’s set foot. Tom loves to fish.
I figured it was pretty safe fishin with the preacher, after all he’s a preacher. Not the kind your see on TV that wants your money in exchange for your own personal health and wealth. Those ol' boys, and in some cases gals, are lying to you. They’re fishin for something other than your eternity. Tom’s the kind of preacher that takes his Christian life seriously, and tries his best to live it Biblically. Tom's a man of God, I thought to myself, he hasn’t caught a single fish all day, and I’d only managed a 10 inch bass. He CAN'T lie about the results of this trip like some other fellas that I fish with do. Wrong! Before church last Sunday morning, Tom, me and some of the boys from church were visiting and Tom told a fish story. No, he didn’t “grow” any imaginary fish of his own, as he held his hands about 5 inches apart, but he shrunk mine! I’m gonna pray for you Tom.
DECEMBER 8, 2016