Jun
09

Persistence by Randy Rowley 6/9/17 ©

By

It was a crisp and clear Saturday in early May, a perfect day to go bass fishing. My son, Ryan, my grandson, Hunter, and I launched at Mansfield Dam on Lake Travis and headed to Commodore’s Point Cove on the northwest side of the boat launch. We arrived at the northward point and I shut my boat off and engaged the trolling motor.

About the 15th cast with my Whopper Plopper (a hard body top water propeller bait) I hooked a bass and quickly brought him in. He didn’t put up much of a fight, as he was only around 12 inches. After another 15 or so casts with no hits, I switched to a square bill crankbait. I tried slow, medium, fast, and stop and go retrieves, all to no avail. Then I tried a lipless crankbait, then a spinnerbait, then a deep-diving crankbait, then a jointed swimbait, then a Roadrunner, then a creature bait, and finally a worm. All generated the same amount on non-interest.

Ryan tried a top water popper, lipless and square bill crankbaits, a swimbait, and a fluke, all to no avail. Hunter tried to catch perch.

As we got to the end of the cove, we saw that the lack of interest was not due to a lack of bass. We saw several typical Lake Travis bass, all around 12 inches long, in the ultra-clear water. They were suspended and showed no interest in pursuing anything. We also saw several perch, many of whom swam within six inches of several bass, who showed no interest in making them into their next meal.

At the very back of the cove, Ryan spotted a bass that was suspended right above the bottom. Four times, he tried slowly cranking a jointed swimbait right in front of the bass’ mouth, with no results. On the fifth time, the bass bumped the lure with its mouth; it was as if he had kissed it. The sixth time proved to be the charm. The bass hit the lure and the fight was on. It proved to be short lived. The bass jumped twice and shook his head. On the second head shake he threw the lure. That was all the excitement that we had that morning.

Some anglers are content to fish for hours without nary a nibble. They’re happy just being out in God’s creation and away from work, chores, and other responsibilities. Although, I do enjoy the beauty of God’s creation, I’ll be the first to admit that I like to actually catch fish when I go fishing. I’ll try every technique I know, a variety of colors and sizes of lures, and different presentations, but after several hours of failure, I’ll call it a day and head home.

But there are times when I’m having an unproductive day on the water, that suddenly the bass will turn on and I’ll start catching them like crazy. Then as quickly as they turned on the chew, they turn off. This is why I’m reluctant to give up quickly. You just never know what the next cast might bring.

As Ryan and I made cast after unproductive cast, I thought about how, in many ways, sharing the Good News of salvation in Jesus alone to the lost can be a lot like trying to catch finicky bass. You can throw everything in your tackle box at unbelievers and find out that they’re just not interested. You talk to them about the joy and peace that knowing the Lord brings and living an abundant life, the assurance of your heavenly home, the relief of no longer being a slave to sin, and present many more bright and shiny things, and just like those bass on that day in May, you get hardly a nudge.

1 Kings tells us of the aftermath of the Prophet Elijah’s proving to the Israelites that the Lord is God by humiliating and killing 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah. 1 Kings 19:1-2 says, “Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.””

The threat from Queen Jezebel to kill Elijah caused him to flee. In 1 Kings 19:4-9 we learn that Elijah came to a juniper tree and prayed that he might die. As an aside, isn’t the Bible wonderful at presenting very human responses from the heroes of the faith? Here was Elijah, regarded by many as the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, a man who would not die and would instead ascend to heaven on a chariot of fire, a man who had just experienced his greatest triumph – proving to the Israelites that God was real and destroying 850 of his enemies, and now he was on the run and praying for God to kill him! Talk about going from the mountaintop to the valley!

Elijah then decides to do something sensible – take a nap. An angel of the Lord awakens him from his nap and encourages him to eat. Elijah got up, ate, and drank. Having been strengthened, he traveled for forty days until he reached Mount Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.

The Lord then asked Elijah what he was doing there. 1 Kings 19:10 says, “He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.””

Elijah not only felt that he was the lone survivor – he also probably felt that he wasn’t making a difference and his work had been in vain.

God had told Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11-12, “”Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”

The Lord then revealed to Elijah that he was not the only one entrusted to carry out God’s will. God said in 1 kings 19:18, “”Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel – all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”” The Lord then gave Elijah three final tasks, which he carried out faithfully.

Even when we feel like we are not planting seeds or making a difference in the lives of the lost, we can find encouragement in knowing that God has never changed his will. 1 Timothy 2:4 says that God wants “all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

So when you’re casting your lures of Good News to the lost, don’t give up when they don’t bite.  Keep on casting – you never know what you might eventually catch.

Categories : Devotionals

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Bible verse of the day

The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.

Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

Kent Crockett’s blog – www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Mark Dillow’s blog – http://noclearline.blogspot.com/