It’s a beautiful sunny spring day. Away from the hustle and bustle of my everyday life, I’m spending the day at a cabin not far from my home, yet, the scenery makes it seems miles away. The cabin sits along the Cheat River nestled between the Allegheny Mountains. With the exception of a few vehicles passing nearby, the primary sounds are birds singing, wind blowing against the forest and river, and the splashes from fly fishermen’s casts and catches. Sitting outside, I drink in the breeze, the sounds, and the sites. Aesthetically pleasing and brilliantly peaceful.
I watched the fly fisherman closely. At first, a bit annoyed that they were so near my cabin and interfering with my day. However, it was soon evident that the Lord wanted to show me something regarding these fishermen. The first word that came to my mind was incarnation. In Young Life, we use this deeply theological word often. It describes our primary means of evangelizing. It’s rooted in Scripture. It’s God the Father saying to God the Son, “It’s time. Go down there and win them.” And so the first Christmas happens. God takes on flesh. Diety meets humanity. Spiritual meets physical. God walks amidst us and he is named Jesus. The apostle John described it this way – “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” The apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Philippi describes Jesus and the incarnation this way – “Who, being in very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” Wow!
In Young Life, leaders go to kids. We enter their world in order to share the Gospel…to win them to the very Jesus who entered our world to win us. So I continued to watch these fly fishermen, I was reminded of the call on my life to enter the rough waters of adolescents to catch and win them to Jesus. I was reminded of Jesus’ prophetic words when he called Peter to follow him, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” The call wasn’t just for Peter but for all who would call themselves followers of Christ. For me. For you.
I wondered if Peter was with me if he would have observed what I observed. They entered into the waters in order to catch the fish. I grew up in Michigan where the nearest fishing hole was walking distance away. I fished often, but unlike these fly fishermen, I never entered into the waters. Because these men were in the water, they were reaching fish that I would be unable to reach had I brought my pole and casted in from the shore. These fly fishermen had the proper gear and equipment for a good catch. It was well planned before they ever stepped into the river. They had the right bait and they knew the proper technique to cast and catch. They moved around the river searching for fish while always casting. They were patient. They rejoiced when they caught a fish. And they indeed caught fish! The lessons to fishing men for Jesus are incredible.
How could they not catch a fish? The only way to catch fish is to go fishing. Watching a fishing show on television won’t do it. Having the equipment but never putting in water won’t do it. Placing a worm on a hook but never casting won’t do it. Standing near the shore, sitting in a boat, or even being in the water won’t Do it. You must fish! The fly fishermen are where the fish are…in their world. A catch is inevitable. O how I imagine Peter would love seeing the fly fishermen.