The following was written a couple years back for the SCOPE homeschool newsletter. I read it today and lived the moment over. The years go by fast, and since this day I have had many opportunities to share lessons about the Fisher of Men with my son. Many more are still to come.
After showing mom the fish he caught Calvin said to me, “Dad, maybe I’ll be a famous fisherman.” I smiled and said, “Son, maybe you’ll be a fisher of men.” He smiled back at me.
We were walking back to the dock and I thought that maybe my “fisher of men” line would lead to some great conversation and life lessons. But as we sat there I decided to let the fishing lessons be about actual fish this time and to save the theology for another day. Part of growing in wisdom as a parent is knowing how to speak into my children’s lives at appropriate times and in appropriate ways.
Sitting on the edge of that dock with my son was one of the highlights of my year. It was a simple thing and even if he forgets that day I will remember. I was filled with joy as I watched him cast his line into the water and reel in fish. My joy came from seeing his joy and from being there to share the moment with him.
We had traveled nine hours to arrive at what has become our family’s favorite place. The cabin in Oregon overlooks a small lake. The children ride four wheelers, hike, catch salamanders and frogs, and spend time on the rowboat or canoe during the day. At night we play games, have a bon fire, roast marshmallows, and relax. We had been here several times but this was the first time we had done any fishing. Calvin was hooked.
As he continued fishing, darkness crept over the mountains and down across the lake. The light from the cabin behind us was the only light we could see. “Are you ready to go in?” I asked. He shook his head to say “No” and continued fishing. We sat in silence, enjoying the quiet and the wonder of creation together. When I saw flashlights coming from the direction of the cabin, I knew that the family was worried about us and that it was time to go.
When we were at the cabin again I looked back towards the dock. From the cabin I could not see the dock in the darkness, but we had been down there fishing. Here was another lesson waiting to be shared, a lesson about the Light of the World who stepped into darkness to cast His net over our hearts.
The next morning as we were packing to head back home, Calvin asked if he could go fishing again while we loaded the van. I watched as he grabbed a fishing pole and an orange life vest and headed down to the dock; this time in the pouring rain. He caught two more fish that morning in the rain before we had to leave. I stood on the cabin porch for several minutes watching and was amazed at his persistence, patience, and joy in fishing. These attributes are some of Christ’ as He came to seek and save the lost. Another fishing lesson!
That moment ended but there will be other days of fishing and other opportunities to share with my son what it means to be a fisher of men and to share more about The Fisher of Men. Since arriving back home he has asked me several times to take him fishing again. And next time I will be ready not only to enjoy watching him fish but also to share important ‘fishing lessons’ with him.