Winter hit Alberta hard this year, so I think I’ll be breaking out the ice fishing gear by mid-January.
The last time I went ice-fishing was in Alaska, on a small lake for Rainbow Trout. That Christmas, my wife had bought me a pop-up shanty, to which the boys had more fun pretending they were in a snow fort than fishing. Either way, it was a good day.
Though I haven’t explored the fishing opportunities in Alberta, I really do miss the abundant fishing opportunities in Alaska. Though, not so much the ice fishing, but the summer and fall salmon runs.
The largest and most challenging of the species being the King, formally known as the Chinook Salmon. Though I had battled my share of Northern Pike back in Canada, none of them adequately prepared me for the fight of the Alaskan King.
Furthermore, now that I’ve battled a few of these monsters, I see some unique similarities between ministry work and being on a fishing boat, when tied into a King!
A distinct characteristic of the King is its strike.
Unlike many other fish species that tend to bump a lure or bait before taking it; the King wastes no time in snatching what it wants. The strike is typically fast and furious; the rod tip diving downward the surface of the water in an instant.
Once that tip has crashed, the boat full of dazed fisherman become an all hands on deck navel crew. As soon as a man yells, “Fish on!”; the immediately expectation is that all other lines are reeled in as fast as humanly possible.
Next, the lines are up and rods stowed, to prevent a tie up and a loss of the fish. The man on the prop stands at attention, keeping one eye on the scene in the boat and the other eye on what lies ahead. He navigates the river, avoiding any river feature that may hinder the catch.
By this time, another man is already on the net; ready for the moment the fish is brought within arms reach of the boat.
The other fishermen are focused on the constant movement of themselves and gear, to keep the path clear for the man tied into the King. As the King carries the line to and fro, under the boat and over heads; the other fishermen must provide a clear path for switching boat positions without hindrance.
Lastly and perhaps most importantly, there had better be a man with a camera or a phone; either recording the fight or ready to snap the first glance of the beast!
Getting out of the church and into a fishing boat or an ice shanty can have some major benefits for us as Believers. The fresh air, recreation and time spent with friends or family hold incredible value!
But there’s more to it.
For me, taking on a King or any large fish, helps me understand how a church or ministry should function. It’s not a pleasure cruise where staff catch the fish, cook it and serve it up for your pleasure and enjoyment.
A ministry challenge is like tying into a big fish. Every person has a specific role or responsibility, that must take place in order to take on a challenge and obtain the prize. Once the rally cry goes out, “Fish on!“; it’s not just paid staff that jump into action.
Church-life is an all hands on deck experience!
Have you ever been fishing? If so, what other similarities do you find between fishing and the church?
Photo Credit: N. Norton, Johnson Lake, AK