I really like to fish. Although I haven’t been fishing in quite some time, it was something that I did regularly while I was growing up. I remember getting up before five am one Saturday morning to meet my youth minister at Dolores’ Market so that we would be on Center Hill Lake before sunrise (He was very frustrated when I slept through the 9 am Bible class the following morning, but that’s an article and spiritual application for another time). I’ve waded on the Dam at Riverfront Park and caught fish swimming in the back current in front of it. I’ve caught fish out of kayaks, canoes, bass boats, and lawn chairs. For several months during my senior year, some friends and I would wade down and fish the Caney Fork River for at least an hour each day after school (and sometimes during what may or may not have technically been considered school hours). I’ve fished in creeks, rivers, lakes, and ponds. I really like to fish.
I have always enjoyed night fishing more than any other type of fishing. Growing up, one of my friends lived within walking distance of the river in Westwood. They had a family friend who lived on the river and had installed a large concrete pad on the riverbank. Several of our friends would take our fishing gear, a few lanterns, and some lawn chairs and spend hours casting hooks baited with chicken liver and rooster tails into the river while hoping to hook a large catfish (or at least a feisty red eye). No doubt the best part of those late-night expeditions was the fellowship. I have memories with friends on that riverbank that I wouldn’t trade for anything. It wasn’t uncommon for us to become so lost in conversation that our bait would drift right into a brush pile or get stuck somewhere down the riverbank.
Allow me to make a few applications. First, it’s easy to lose track of your bait while fishing at night. Before you know it, you’re nowhere near where you intended to be. The same thing can happen to us spiritually. Most Christians aren’t washed away from Jesus overnight. There’s a spiritual complacency involved. Slowly over time we drift away until we find ourselves struggling with a sin, embracing a certain lifestyle, and spiritually in a place that seems unrecognizable. If we aren’t vigilant in our faith, this is exactly what can happen to any of us. Read 2 Peter 2:20.
On the other hand, we all know people who may once have been “plugged-in” disciples of Jesus, but have since drifted away. It’s no coincidence that Jesus refers to His disciples in the gospels as “fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19). If we’re following Jesus, our job is to lead others to Him, and help reign in others who are getting lost downstream. It’s far too easy to drift away.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8