I have spent countless hours of my life using a variety of baits and lures attempting to convince finicky fish to strike the tempting counterfeit dinner…and get hooked. I love fishing. I have loved it since I was a young boy. Now, I am frequently joined by my own son who relishes in the sport as much, if not more, than I do. Others in the family also enjoy the peace and relaxation of back-lashed fishing reels, lures stuck in trees or snagged on underwater logs, broken rods, non-responsive boat motors, rainy and windy days, hooks in the carpet, seats, hands, legs or heads…not to mention the fish that are lost at the side of the boat…but…not as much as the two of us.
We have lost more than our share of fish. Sometimes the hooks never even get into the mouth of the cold blooded aquatic swimmers. Other times, it seems that even when we have done everything right, the fish is still able to jump and throw the lure or somehow magically get off the line just before our net reaches to snatch the bass from the dark waters. It is hard to watch the fish swim away into the deep water while your heart sinks even deeper. This is usually the largest fish of the day…even if it wasn’t…it quickly becomes so as you relive what could have been.
We spend most of our time fishing for bass. The river is abundant with them. They offer exciting, adrenaline pumping, action as you fight them back to the boat…and once in a while, land a really nice big one. We then let them go…unless, of course, we are so fortunate as to catch the elusive Minnesota Walleye.
We don’t target walleye very often. Probably because we are not very good at it…and by not catching them, we feel like failures. So instead, we fish for bass…and every once in a while, we are surprised with the treasured state fish of Minnesota. We keep all of our walleye…no matter the size...well…we would probably throw an 8” walleye back into the water…but anything larger, is going home to be placed on a fish sandwich.
A couple of years ago, Isaac and I were on the water. After hooking himself deep with a treble hook…we went to the local ER to have the hook removed. As soon as the hook was out…we went right back out onto the water…and just our luck…we nabbed one of these rare treasures. Isaac hooked him up while cranking for smallies with a 6’ diving Rapala.
“Wow sweet!...Here’s the stringer…hook him up and we can eat him for supper!”
“All right! Ok!” he replied.
He took the stringer and ran it through the gills and out the mouth of the marbled eyed fish and tied the end to the boat.
It felt good. With the rough day that we had had…it was nice to have something to show for it…and eat!! After all the time spent…and wasted…we suddenly felt rich! We had a walleye!
Sadly, as we were packing things up for the day…Isaac reached down to pull the stringer out of the water and into the boat…only to find the stringer…EMPTY.
Our prized possession was gone.
Apparently, he had not looped the stringer back through the ring before he tied it up…so basically, he passed the stringer through the fish…and let it go.
Loss. We all have loss. We lose fish at the side of the boat. We lose fish by not tying up the stringer. We lose lures caught in trees…or on the bottom of the river. We lose money. We lose things. We lose our childhood. We lose our flexibility. We lose our jobs. We lose our loved ones. Revelation 18, gives us a powerful picture of loss. Jesus had just finished doing what He had promised that He would do. He had said that He would cut down evil and destroy it. In this chapter, we see the great wealth of the world come crashing down. We see people who have become very rich…lose everything in an instant…people are weeping and wailing…crying for all that they have lost.
I can’t help but remember what Jesus said in Matthew 6. He told us that the things of this earth will all rot away…so instead, store up for yourselves, treasures in heaven.
What have you lost? What are you ready to gain?
May we come to see the things of this world as temporary…and the promised riches of the Kingdom to come…as eternal! Thank you Jesus! Thank you, our Coming King.