I went fishing for a couple of hours this morning with a good friend of mine and his 8 year old son, who happens to be my godson. Right when I pulled up to the pond I saw, just below the surface of the water, a long, dark, ominous outline slowly cutting through the water. It was a grass carp.
Grass carp can attain a pretty large size. Plus, they will stick their fins out of the water like a little shark from time to time, so they are destined to be a great source of interest for most any 8 year old boy. This proved true with my godson this morning.
While his father and I walked around the pond chatting and casting Caleb never really got away from that carp. It was too much for him. Now, the reality is, grass carp don’t really go for the same bait that bass do, in fact, other than something that smells horrible, I can’t tell you that I actually know how to fish for grass carp. But, there was really no relevance to these realities for the boy this morning, just determination. He would have been just as satisfied to hook the carp in the gills and drag him in like a tree trunk as to actually lure him onto the hook.
About half way through our time together I was struck by the kid’s tenacity. Through line tangles, casts that floated into tree limbs, and just plain old perpetual failure the boy had set his sights on the biggest fish in the pond and nothing else really mattered.
I was checked in my soul by my tendency to not be like this. I have a propensity for allowing my passions to be diverted, not necessarily to bad things, but to things that don’t matter nearly as much as THE thing. As Caleb threw cast after cast at that carp I began to see the parable of the costly pearl and the treasure in the field from Matthew 13 in a modern context. Nothing else mattered. Everything else, every resource, every energy, every tool, all of it was only really good for getting nearer to the ultimate goal. There was one fish in that pond that had captured his heart, and no other fish really mattered anymore.
I have some thinking to do today. I need to determine what my “big fish” is. Because if I can’t say that it is growing in knowledge and relationship with Jesus then I’m chasing small fish. We call them “throwbacks”. How much time have we wasted pursuing “throwbacks”? There’s only one “Keeper”, and though it requires much, all even, its worth every cast and every failed attempt (which aren’t truly failed attempts…because any movement that teaches us more about how to get closer, though it may specifically seem like a loss, is actually experience gained and steps nearer).
What’s your “big fish”?
Find it, chase it, embrace it.