Recently my mother has been at our house, and I have taken a few days off to take her fishing. For those that know me, you know my favorite spot is a series of handicapped accessible fishing docks below the dam at a nearby lake. At certain times of the year, this place is excellent fishing, and it is easy to access, especially with my mom.
I need to tell you that I am an experienced fisherman. Through the years, I have fished in five states and Canada. This includes trips to Lake Erie, the Mississippi and Kenai Rivers, plus the waters that surround Alaska. I spend more hours on the water than my wife likes, but my experience allows me to be successful.
When I go to these docks, I usually come home with a limit of nice crappie and often several catfish. These trips allowed me to have two enormous meals lately and feed people all the fish they wanted. I am truly blessed in my ability to catch fish, and I thank God for that. I am also willing to share my knowledge with anyone who inquires of me.
The past three trips have made me laugh, cry, and question humanity. Repeatedly my mom and I have been catching fish, and someone came up and asked us what we were doing. I have tried to explain to them that we are using slip bobbers. They allow us to fish away from the dock and to fish deep, usually 10-12 feet. I tell them that I prefer live minnows hooked in the back with weights attached about 3-4 inches above the hook. I have gone so far as to offer them free tackle and show them how to use it. Lately, all this information is greeted with the same response of “Hum.” Then they go right back to what they were doing before they asked with no greater success. There I am, offering them advice, showing them it works and I am even willing to help them and they walk away.
All of this has me thinking about the Church and my job as a preacher every week. I try to preach the truth effectively. I try to model that faith in my own life, family, and career. I am willing to do everything possible to help people. And yet, I realize most of the time people walk away and do nothing with it. Most people think they know enough to be good at whatever they do, but real wisdom is knowing enough to change. My experience tells me that the difference between success and failure is not the access to the right information; it is the willingness to change and act differently. Knowledge is only useful when you apply to your life.