The Shepherd's Heart: Back on the water

Thursday, January 15, 2009

For the past several years, when anyone in our family wanted to go fishing we would grab the canoe from it's resting place in the backyard and head to one of a few local ponds or small lakes and spend the morning, afternoon, or evening on the water. Most of those days you would find us tossing spinner baits or jigs toward the banks and reeling them back to the canoe in hopes of landing a formidable bass or a hard-fighting crappie.

That changed late in July while vacationing with some friends at a state park in southeast Missouri. On the last day of the week, we floated down to the campground from up-river once last time. When we pulled the canoe out of the water, we decided to leave it on the bank, walk back to the campsite, and bring the truck down to pick it up.

However, when we returned to the river side launch, the canoe was gone. Some person of no-doubt ill-repute had absconded with our family's only water craft. Drat!

I suppose I could have thrown a fit. I could have yelled and screamed and jumped up and down. I could have made a scene. But I didn't. I figured whoever took it must have needed it more than I did, and that we had made it down the river several times that week with no one getting hurt. So, in my estimation, all was well.

I must admit, however, that when we returned home and the summer lingered, hot summer days giving way to a beautiful fall, I missed that canoe. I missed that canoe right up until time to get ready for deer season. After deer season was over, as is usually the case, I started to think about spring and rods-n-reels and ponds-n-lakes and the upcoming fishing season. And I started to miss that canoe all over again.

Then something I hadn't expected occurred.

After church on the Sunday after Christmas, I was told to stay put near the platform -- "just for a few minutes." Before I knew it, several of the men in the church came through the big double doors carrying -- you guessed it -- a brand new canoe.

All I can say is that the good folks at Union Baptist Church know their pastor. And they understand that, though I have been a "fisher of men" for many years now, I have never quite given up on being a fisher of fish.