“Be Careful What You’re Fishing For!”
By Pastor Ron Buxton
Years ago, I decided to visit another missionary in Mérida Mexico to see if I could help him start a new orphanage there. While there, I went fishing with a local pastor in the Gulf of Mexico. That is, we traveled several miles off shore in a 12-15 foot boat. And that’s where an adventure began.
Now, I was born and raised in Maine where fishing always meant a hand-held rod and reel. Not that day. It was underwater harpoon fishing, which is something bizarre to begin with. But what I’m about to share got even more bizarre. And it sets the background to my short article today.
The guy fishing underwater was named Carlos. He was harpooning the fish, and we were pulling them into the boat. That’s when it happened. Carlos suddenly surfaced and excitedly shouted to us: “¡Echénme una soga. Tengo una gata!” [loosely translated: “Throw me a rope. I’ve got a cat!”] However, I’ll shortly explain that poorly translated last word in a moment.
Seconds later, Carlos surfaced again telling us to pull on the rope, which the other guys excitedly did. Turns out, that word “gata” is the slang term for shark! We were pulling a 7-8 foot shark into our 12-15 foot boat! And I was the only one NOT excited about that. For them, it was a big pay day. For me, it was the frantic avoidance of going lower on the food-chain!
Whenever I think of sharks, I think of the Greek word <sarx>. I know. I’m a Bible nerd. You see, that is what it sounds like to me phonetically. And that Greek word most often means “the sinful human nature”. However, get this point. Both words are deadly. And, make no mistake about it, that angry shark in that tiny boat was a real threat to me just then!
Of the hundreds of Bible promises for believers, you’ll read the following in Micah 7:19– “You [God] will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Think about that analogy. That is, for those who repent of their sins, and believe upon the atonement of Jesus Christ, they are amazingly free of sin. God figuratively casts those sins into the very depths of the sea. And, for that, I picture the Mariana Trench at 36,037 feet below!
I’ll quickly conclude now with this thought. God can (and does) cast those sins into the depths of the sea. But what about unbelievers? Frankly, they’ve got a shark <sarx> thrashing around in their boat! And I’m not naive to think that most reading this now don’t fall into that dangerous category. And so, if that’s you, please remember this story. I’ll never forget how angry and deadly that shark appeared to me. Friend, be careful what you’re fishing for! Get into God’s boat quickly, and then trust Christ to cast any sharks back into the sea! He’s waiting for you to let Him.