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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Gone Fishing (02/01/07)

TITLE: That J is a Hook
By James Clem


Paul Johnson steered the small motorboat around a half-submerged tree. This was a favorite fishing spot that his father had shown him long, long ago. He and Dad had come out to Lake Jeremiah on many occasions and now Paul joyously passed the tradition on to the next generation.

His mind flashed through treasured memories of a simpler time. His Dad had lived a Christian example for his two sons every day of his life and taught them the fundamentals of a solid faith. Paul lamented not seeing his brother Peter much anymore. A random thought tumbling through his head caused him to smile: Dad had been pretty transparent in his hopes when he insisted his two sons be named for the two great apostles.

Paul’s son, James, leaned over the front of the small boat, lifting his line up and around, trying desperately to keep it from getting tangled in the sunken branches. Paul guessed that tree must have a hundred hooks in it by now.

In the quiet of the early morning, Paul vividly recalled his dad’s favorite teaching – it was his passion in life that he shared with everyone. He would always begin with a simple line, “You just got to go fishing.” Whomever he happened to be talking to invariably smiled and looked him in the eyes—totally unaware of the sermonette that was right around the corner.

Dad would usually follow up with that corny old saying--that did have a bit of truth in it—the worst day fishing is better than the best day at work. His companion would almost always nod or voice some type of agreement. .

“You got to go fishing – it’s in the Bible, you know.” He would wink at them and Dad had them hooked. “It aint no surprise that Jesus begins with a J—that J is a hook! He said ‘I will make you fishers of men.’ But the problem with Christians is that just don’t go fishing.

“They go to church and worship God – and that’s a good thing. They might even sing in the choir – but that aint fishing. I know lots of Christians who go to Bible Studies and small group things to learn about fishing… and that’s a good thing too, but again, that aint fishing.

“People ask: how come we don’t see more people come to believe in Jesus? And so I ask them, ‘Where have you been fishing?’ They usually have this strange look on their face so I explain it to them, It’s like this: Jesus said, ‘While you’re out in the world… fish’ –that’s paraphrased of course.”

“People today have these new versions of the Bible with special notes and comments. We have Bibles for Promise Keepers, Women of Virtue, Kids For Christ—plus commentaries and study Bibles. I like to think of these as high-powered rod-and-reels. We also got the very best bait you could ask for – God’s love shining in our own lives. That bait should be so strong that people are drawn to us; we don’t even have to go looking for them. Plus the Holy Spirit will cause them to find us. We just have to be ready to fish. Where have you been fishing?”

Paul blinked and whispered, “I love you Dad.”

Breathing in deeply to drive back any tears, he called to his son, “Hey James, let me tell you this story your Grandpa used to tell.”

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This article has been read 1071 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Elizabeth Bussey02/09/07
I really enjoyed the truth you shared here. Honest yet not threatening. Makes the reader think. My only suggestion would be a smoother transition into the closing.
Sheri Gordon02/12/07
I liked it. Simple, but with a strong message. I liked Grandpa's dialogue -- almost correct grammar, but not quite. Very nice.
Marilyn Schnepp 02/12/07
Sweet story in a mini capsule. Nice going..
william price02/15/07
SUper job Clem. Congrats. God bless.