Sunday, June 17, 2007
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY
The Man on the Shore
Walking around a small lake, I watched the butterflies flutter before my eyes. I smelled the clean air and sat down on the roots of a grand old tree. The roots of this tree had "popped" out of the ground just like the veins in my hands had "popped" out from old age. Off in the distance, I could hear two voices. The first voice was gruff, much like my own, speaking pleasant words in an overtone that would have frightened away most creatures of the lakeshore. The other voice, small and timid, was incessantly inquiring about the rhyme, reason and reality of everything in the lake. To get a better look, I moved closer to where the water met the land and saw two people in a small boat out on the lake. It was a father and his child, with fishing poles hanging over the sunny side of the boat. The child looked very sad, because no fish had taken his bait all day. Of course, the young, ever-questioning voice was asking why the fish did not like THESE worms. The father said, as gently as he could, that the fish are picky, very much like some children are picky about eating all of their green veggies. I could still hear the father's voice, straining in the pain and frustration of not being able to help his child catch a fish.
Taking pity on the father's predicament, I yelled over to the people in the boat, "Throw your lines over the shadowy side of the boat, under the shade of the tree." I thought I heard the child ask why there was an old man on the shore that they had not seen before, but the father was too busy dropping his line in the water on the shadowy side of the boat. Only a few minutes after their hooks hit the water, the father began feeling a tug on his pole, and exclaimed, "Looks like it's going to be a big one!" He handed the pole to the child and guided him through the motions of catching the fish successfully. I watched as they pulled the large fish out of the water and put it in a net. The child smiled gleefully at his fish, the one for which he had been waiting all day. The father and his son then looked for me, to express their thanks, but I was already walking in the brush surrounding the water, out of their view. I could see their smiles from a distance as they rowed the boat into the dock. I remember the "old" days of taking my own son to the lake, teaching him how the fish moved and why they sometimes did not like the worms. I remember teaching him that it is not always up to the worms; sometimes the fishermen just need to know where to drop their lines.
Jesus, when He lived on earth, guided His associates, (John 21:1-14) much like the man on the shore guided the father and his child in the above parable . Today, Christ stands at the shores of our lives and asks the fathers and their children, "How's the fishing? Any luck? Are you catching the worthwhile abundant life I intended you to have when I created you?" Christ stands ready to show us where to "drop our lines" and how to find joy in our lives through the guidance of His Word and local congregations. What a difference it makes! Fathers, to experience the joy of Christ's leadership, keep looking for the guidance of "the Man on the shore." He stands ready to give you direction that can bring awesome results and joy to both you and your children. Our love and best regards to you this Father's Day.