Friday, August 2, 2013

Fishing and Feeding His Flock

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10

"I don't judge."

He said it over a campfire in the mountains of Arizona, hot chocolate steaming in the white, styrofoam cup held in both hands.  It was cold; the stars, the countless myriad stars, were spilled like precious gems across the depths of space above us.  Vault of heaven.  It took my breath away.

"I don't judge."  But you do, I thought.  Just by that statement, you do.  We were sitting at the picnic table - wood, shellacked and smooth, worn by weather and campers - not cold metal tubes.  Not modern.  Not new.  It had taken awhile to get the fire started because of the rain that afternoon.  Rain while we were fishing together.  Fishing for trout.  With marshmallows.

Funny what I remember.  Salmon eggs and marshmallows.  A double-hooked line.  Spaced about a foot and a half apart, a lead weight pressed on at the the bottom.  I would cast the whole contraption out - feel the bottom hit, tighten up the line - then wait.  I could picture it, the line diving from the surface of the lake, extending diagonally away from shore to that little pebble of split lead, resting on the bottom.  Between, floating in the rocky depths, one hook above and slightly in front of the other, dangling bait - those bright red and white buttons, hiding the point and barb, hiding the metal - dissolving into the water in an inviting cloud of yum.  Yum for the fish.  Yum for me.

If I kept my finger on the line, I could feel those first tentative nibbles, the tiny movement traveling in pulses.  I loved the timing - carefully pull the pole in closer and close my hand on the reel.  I imagined myself a fish at the bait.   Test - test - oh it's good.  Bite.  At the bite, I yanked back and started winding in.  At that instant I knew - I had it, or I didn't.  They fought hard, those trout.

And then, at the end of the day, the campfire.  Cleaning the catch, grilling it over the flames with a little butter and salt.  Oh, but it was delicious.  Flaky, melt-in-your-mouth, fresh.  Satisfying.  Then, the hot chocolate and solving the problems of the world, tall pines silhouetted against the bright, bright stars.

I tried to explain to him.  That he was.  That judging was the idea that something or someone was right or wrong, good or bad, better or worse - it was a choice.  That he was choosing NOT to.  That his choice was in the NOT; it was his judgement about judging.

Funny what I remember.

Because lately, I've been reading a lot about what it means to write Christian material, and create Christian art.  It's too saccharin sweet.  I read.  Life isn't all fluffy, and pretty, it's not all a Thomas Kinkade painting.  I read.  I would rather be considered a secular author, than wear the Christian label.  I read.  Zondervan wouldn't publish my work; it visits too many dark places.  I read.

Labels.  Judgement.  Better.  Worse.  Right.  Wrong.  Good.  Bad.

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; 
no one comes to the Father but through Me.

If you choose to write or create only part of the truth in this broken world - only the darkness and the squalor, only evil, only sadness, sickness, disaster - then yes, you belong in the secular world.  But when Jesus is in your heart, then He will show up in your work; glimmers of His light will shine through the brokenness - hope, redemption, grace, healing, faith, joy, love - the rest of the truth...  Own up.  You are a Christian.  You've been hooked.  You can't help but be changed by the Holy Spirit.   You are feeding His lambs.  You are taking care of His sheep.  Indeed, you are feeding His flock.

Father in Heaven, thank you for this new day.  Thank you for changing me, for changing my heart, for forgiving my wrongs.  Help me to live today to glorify you, to proclaim the name of your Son in my words, my actions, and my thoughts. 

Linking with Faith Filled Friday, and Fellowship Friday


  1. Love beautifully written. Help me Lord to judge not lest I be judged. Blessings...

  2. Thank you. I keep thinking there has to be a way to accept more than one idea without putting those ideas on some kind of Likert scale - to be more accepting of people everywhere without labeling them, because inherent in the labels is judgement. Yes. Help me Lord!

  3. You definitely are a writer! Your ideas beautifully expressed... and convicting!

  4. Esther Joy - what a wonderful name! Such encouraging words! I always hope readers will understand my intent - sometimes my confusion - always my hope. Thank you.


I know we probably haven't met in person, but I believe that the sharing of our ideas and thoughts, sometimes our hearts and souls, makes us more than strangers. I would like to say friends. Thank you for taking the time to contribute to my little space - I appreciate you.