Summertime is water time. During these warming days, many individuals and families take to the beach, the pool, or the river attempting to stay cool. Raft trips, kayaking, swimming, boating, skiing and more invite the overheated to find relief and refreshment.
One of the most common summer activities in the valley is fishing. Although hardcore fishermen may have never taken a break throughout the winter, the warmer temperatures have most anglers back to enjoying the challenge of landing nice bass, bluegills, and catfish.
You can usually tell who the true fishermen are. They post photos on social media with their excursions and their catches. They wear cargo shorts stuffed with lures. They constantly talk about fishing when they’re not actually fishing. Every spare minute finds them at their favorite pond or stream drowning a worm or floating a boat.
In a similar fashion, you can tell who the true hunters are. We wear camo and have outdoor bumper stickers on our trucks. We’re always telling hunting tales and shopping for new gear, camo, and ammo. When you walk into our homes or offices, you find mounted trophies of our most successful hunts. Our actions demonstrate what’s important to us.
Imagine if I told you I didn’t have to actually go fishing in order to be a fisherman? Pretty stupid, right? Or I don’t have to actually hunt to be a hunter? I believe in hunting and fishing. I know a lot about both. But if I never go, you can’t really call me a hunter or a fisherman.
In fact, although I am a true hunter, you can’t really call me a fisherman. I like to go when I get a chance, I just seldom get one. I own several poles, some lures, a tackle box, and even some PowerBait. I’ve got hooks, books and videos. I’ve even got my fishing license.
But I seldom go except on special occasions. I took my grandson to Orndorff’s Rainbow Trout Farm for youth day. I might join a charter on the Chesapeake Bay or go out on the Rappahannock with some friends. But you can’t really call me a fisherman because I hardly ever actually fish. I enjoy it when I do go and the last time I out-fished the friend who took me, in spite of my inferior skill.
These reflections caused me to think about folks who call themselves Christians but never actually worship Christ with others. They might come to church on a few special occasions like Christmas, Easter, or when Aunt Maude sings. But otherwise, they keep their distance. In addition, Jesus is strangely absent from their conversations.
You can’t really be a fisherman without actually fishing and you can’t really be a Christian without participating in Christ’s family. Just as a person’s actions tell the truth about their prowess as a hunter or fisherman, so too our actions indicate the real status of our Christianity.
We might believe the basic doctrines and teachings of the Bible, which is vitally important. This makes us believers, which we need to be. We might know several hymns or Christian songs. But if we never obey those teachings or sing those songs to praise our Savior, are we really Christians? Do we talk about the One we claim is most important to us?
Believers believe but Christians do. We don’t do to be accepted or saved by Jesus, we do because He has accepted and saved us. Our actions are natural responses to His love, mercy and grace. I might believe there are deer in the woods but if I never actively pursue them, I’m only a believer and not a true hunter.
As many Americans take to the waters to fish and frolic this summer, let’s remember that actually endeavoring to live like Christ makes one a Christian just as actually fishing is what makes someone a true fisherman. Blessings, George