One of the highlights of our family reunion which happens on the 4th of July holidays every odd numbered year is fishing in the same farm pond my mother probably fished in as a little girl. Most of my time on the shore tends to be spent with my Uncle Jack and two of my young cousins, Emma and Walker. There is so much you can learn from fishing, like patience and learning to do things which make you squeamish. (Think worms.) The following, from March 27, 2006 is one of the best fish stories I have ever heard.
When I was in college and for the first six years of my teaching career, I fished constantly. It was never something I excelled at but it was outdoors and I always fished with friends. A class I sponsored at Georgia Christian School bought me a VERY expensive rod and reel. The reel was an Ambassadeur, complicated for the non-proficient angler. It was the equivalent of giving a Ferrari to a sixteen year old boy. I spent more time untangling the line than I did fishing! It's been years since I fished, not counting family reunions where the purpose is being together while letting the little ones have fun. My attention was captured by a fishing story last week. It centered on a world record bass caught in California. On March 2o, Mac Weakley pulled in a bass in Dixon Lake that weighed in at a whopping 25.1 pounds. (The heaviest bass on record was netted in Georgia seventy-four years ago, tipping the scale at 22 1/4 pounds.) Weakley had witnesses, weighed the bass on land (as rules stipulate), and had video/pictures taken of himself and his monster haul. Sounds like Weakley has a cut-and-dried record, doesn't it? Not so fast! Some are not quite as quick to crown Weakley's bass as the Greatest Ever. To begin with, some believe a bass could never attain a size of 25 pounds. Another problem focuses on the scale used to weigh the catch: it was not certified. Lastly, Weakley released the bass back into the 70 acre body of water. Taken as a group, these points make some suspicious of this effort which would shatter a record considered as untouchable as Joe DiMaggio's fifty-six game hitting streak in baseball. Will Mac Weakley and his fish be sanctioned by the International Game Fish Association? The jury is out but it's believed had Weakley kept the fish and it met the necessary criterion, it would have meant a million dollar payday for the California fisherman.
We've been discussing the miracles of Jesus in my sophomore Bible classes. The Gospel accounts don't sugarcoat the fact that not everyone in the first century was convinced of the validity of these signs. Sometimes the evidence was denied- a blind man who was healed only looked the same man. Sometimes alternative explanations were given- Jesus was driving out demons by the power of Satan. Sometimes miracles were treated with contempt- healing on the Sabbath could not please God! There was no guarantee that witnessing a miracle produced belief in the one who performed it. It seems incredulous that someone could watch the dead being raised, the lepers being cleansed, the lame walking, the deaf hearing, etc and not fall down in worship but many today read those accounts and aren't touched. It comes down to faith. The fish story is a poor illustration but it's the best I have. Some will never believe the world record bass report and some will accept the feat with zero skepticism. I take no stance: my faith is not in fish!
"Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that by believing you may have life in his name."
John 20:30, 31
Applicable quote of the day:
"If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there would be a shortage of fishing poles."
* photo is taken from www.FishingLoft.com *
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org