Deacon Swain told his kindergarten teacher that he was going camping with his grandpa over the Labor Day weekend. She said, “You’re going camping with Papa D?” “How did you know his name was Papa D?” “I was your brother’s teacher.” So Deacon and I went camping. Actually, we stayed in the Minister’s Cabin at Tulakogee Baptist Assembly on Lake Ft. Gibson. I booked the cabin for four days of personal retreat starting on Thursday night. The primary purpose of our camping trip, Deacon informed me, was to go fishing. He and his Mama D joined me on Sunday evening.
On Monday morning we headed off to the bait shop. I asked him about the kind of bait we should get—minnows, crickets or worms. “Get worms. Fish love worms.” We explored a couple of good fishing spots, settling on the fishing dock at the camp. Deacon explained to me that when we caught a fish, we were to “take out the eye balls,” cut it up and take it to Mama D to cook it. He told me all about fishing with his own little rod and reel. Then I opened the box of worms.
“Ewww!” went the voice next to me as I baited his hook. We set the bobber, and he cast it in the water quite to his satisfaction. I started to bait my hook. “Papa D, I can’t see my bobber.” His pole was bent nearly in half, the bobber surfaced then disappeared again. He had caught the big one. Really, it was about three pounds. “Ewww!” Deacon, it turns out, is more impressed with the idea of fishing, than actually dealing with a big flathead catfish. He did not want to cut it up or even get close enough to have his picture taken with it. So we set the fish free. A little while later he caught a smaller catfish. Soon he was finished for the day. He had caught a big fish! We will go fishing again.
I know people who are impressed with the idea of being a disciple of Jesus, yet, when it comes to actually living the challenging, gritty life of a disciple, “Ewww!” They love the heaven part, tolerate church people sometimes, and ignore God’s words. Authentic disciples keep after it, and help make disciples. You know, “Take up the cross and follow…”
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Go fish. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.