“Do not tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish.” Mark Twain
His dad was the first to teach him how to fish. It was a wonderful bonding experience for them in the rather mundane life they shared in the city – in the hustle and bustle – within the funeral business 24/7. The retreat of the lake led to beautiful moments just sitting in a boat waiting. His dad told him to keep his bait warm, by placing it in his mouth – advice he never actually did, but I’m sure it got him thinking for a second or two.
Sitting on a clear, glasslike surface, with only the sound of frogs croaking and crickets making noise, they would spend hours, sitting quietly, waiting and waiting for that one big one that everyone else talks about. As with most things Paul ever did as a boy, he studied up on it fervently. He wanted to know everything about it. He learned which bait worked the best, how to cast with a fly rod, how to fish with a cane pole. Most of all he learned to listen – not only to the sounds outside the boat, but the words from his dad from inside. His dad was a rather quiet man, with a somber side, but he also had a great sense of humor and shared that with his son. Together they spent much quality time on the lake.
He’d often venture out on his own, when dad couldn’t be there with him. During those times, his catches often consisted of seaweed, an old boot, another fishing lure, a snake and even a fish within a fish. He had a fish on his line that looked pretty good, but not only to Paul, but another larger fish was interested in having him for dinner too. As the small fish neared the boat, the larger fish swallowed up the smaller one. Paul was sure he’d lost it for good, but to his surprise, both fish made it into his fishing net.
There was another incident when he started to reel one in. As he pulled it from the water, there was nothing but a thin pink, snake like thing, which seemed to grow and stretch as it came closer. It turned out to be the tongue of a giant bull frog. Imagine the length and elasticity of that thing. When Paul let him go, I have visions of a fat bullfrog with his tongue dragging behind him.
Paul hasn’t been fishing for a number of years, but I expect that will change now that we’re so close to two rivers. In the meantime, like his namesake, he has become a fisher of men. His outgoing personality along with his love for Jesus is very contagious. Where ever we are – out to eat, at a movie, at a garage sale, in a park walking – somehow the topic often turns to the Lord and it isn’t long before he’s sharing his zeal with others.
So not only is he using his fishing background, but his time on a farm and all his other experiences in life to witness for Jesus. Of course he knows that God is actually the who changes hearts, but he truly enjoys planting seeds.