“Always be ready” (1 Peter 3:15).
There’s a blessing we fly–fishers bestow upon our piscatorial brothers: “May you have a tight line,” by which we mean, may you always have a trout on your line
As I’ve gotten older, however, I must confess that a tight line means less to me now than it did. I get as much enjoyment from fishing as I do from catching.
When I’m fishing I have more time to walk streamside and enjoy the solitude and silence; to look for places where fish might be holding; to watch for hatches and match them as best I can; and to think about a proper presentation. When I set out to “catch” I try too hard. I press and lose too many fish as well as some of the enjoyment of the day.
It occurs to me that Jesus called us to be “fishers” of men and not “catchers.” My job is to go where the fish are lurking, to walk and stand among them, to study their habits and habitat and get to know their ways. And then I toss out a line to see if one of them will rise to the surface. There’s more enjoyment in that easy effort and I have better results than when I’m too ardent about catching.
And so it is that I fish for men and women, looking for opportunities to speak a word in season, casting here and there and leaving the results with God. It’s more calming for me and for the fish—the folks who get spooked and scattered by my clumsiness.
Thus the blessing I bestow on my sons and fellow fishers is no longer, “May you always have a tight line,” but rather, “May you always have your line in the water.” Or better yet, as another old fisherman said, “Always be ready…” (1 Peter 3:15).