JOURNEY WITH JOHN
(Written by Pastor Dustin Aagaard)
Last week I spent some time at the beach with my family. My son Riley and I just recently got into fishing. My dad bought both my son and me fishing poles to help us get started with our fishing adventure.
One evening I decided to take a kayak out fishing by myself. I went out about 200 yards from the shore, and the fish were biting! Unfortunately, in that time I caught six baby sharks, four hammerheads, and 2 “normal-looking” sharks. Now, I’m no dummy; I know that if I caught baby sharks there are sure to be mommy and daddy sharks somewhere close by.
I continue to fish and this time something massive hits my line. I can tell by the way it took my line that it’s not a shark but something big and fun to catch. So, I began to reel in my prize. As I am reeling in my dream fish, there is a major disturbance just under the water in the direction of my fish. I knew that whatever created the disturbance was not my fish because its splash was too big. Suddenly, it came to the surface and I saw it…it was the biggest shark I had ever seen in my life! It was about 25 yards away from me and my itty-bitty vulnerable kayak. My first thought was that the shark went after a school of fish. Then it dawned on me; that shark just ate my dream fish. Not only did it eat my fish, it was still attached to my line. So, I am still connected with this beast as it swims away from me for 2-3 seconds dragging my kayak with me in it. It turns toward me, and I think uh-oh, this can’t be good.
By the grace of God, it doesn’t knock me off the kayak, but instead it swims parallel to my kayak. As it swims by, a good portion of his body is sticking out of the water and I can clearly see his size. At this point, the shark is about one foot away from my kayak and I can see just how big this bull shark is. It was easily longer and wider than my 10-foot long kayak. As soon as I realized his size, I threw my fishing pole into the ocean like I was an Olympian javelin athlete. I chucked that fishing pole as far as I could, and I paddled back to shore as fast as possible. I guarantee you; I did not score any points on my man card with how I reacted in that scenario.
After finding out that I tossed my pole into the ocean, both my son and my dad asked me, “Why didn’t you just cut the line?” I responded to them by saying, “Are you kidding me? I was not making a financial decision; I was making a survival decision, and tossing the pole overboard was the fastest thing I could do to survive.”
Why did I throw the pole into the water? I threw that pole as far as I could because it was still connected to something that clearly could have taken me out. It was a no brainer to toss the pole. I didn’t want to be attached to anything that could have sunk me at that moment or, worse yet, could have taken me out.
After I took some time to process what happened, I began to ask myself, “What else in my life do I need to chuck overboard because it could take me out?”
Let me ask you that same question. What is it in your life that if you keep holding onto it, it is going to sink you? It may sink you emotionally, financially, mentally, physically, or spiritually. Knowing when to cut bait and take off is a sign of spiritual maturity. The Apostle Paul says it like this in 1 Corinthians 10:23 “’I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive.”
What is it in your life that is not beneficial or constructive and has the potential to bring you down?
Maybe you’re clinging to negative thinking instead of the Word of God, and it’s taking a toll on you mentally, and you just need to let it go.
Maybe you’re clinging to anger, and God’s calling you to forgive so you can receive peace.
Maybe you’re clinging to control, and God’s calling you to surrender.
I don’t know what it is you need to surrender and throw overboard, but I trust Psalm 37:4, as it says, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Loving the saltwater Journey,
Associate Lead Pastor