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.

I hooked a bass and quickly brought him to my boat on around my 15th cast with my Whopper Plopper (a hard topwater propeller bait).  He didn’t put up much of a fight, as he was only around 12 inches long.  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, to no avail.  I also tried a lipless crankbait, a spinnerbait, a deep-diving crankbait, a jointed swimbait, a Roadrunner, a creature bait, and a worm.  All generated the same amount on non-interest.

Ryan tried a topwater 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 some of the bass, who showed no interest in making them their next meal.

At the very back of the cove, Ryan spotted a suspended bass right above the bottom.  Four times, he tried slowly cranking a jointed swimbait right in front of its mouth, with no results.  On the fifth try, the bass bumped the lure with its mouth.  It was as if the bass had kissed it.  The sixth try 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.  Unfortunately, that proved to be the final bit of excitement that morning.

Some fishermen 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 enjoy the beauty of God’s creation, I’ll be the first to admit that I like to catch fish when I go fishing.  I’ll try every technique I know, various 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.  That’s why I’m reluctant to give up quickly – you 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 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, 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 like those bass on that morning in May, you get hardly a nudge.

The book of 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.  1 Kings 19:4-9 says that Elijah came to a juniper tree and prayed that he might die.  As an aside, isn’t the Bible excellent at presenting very human responses from the heroes of the faith?  Many scholars regarded Elijah as the greatest of the Old Testament prophets.  He didn’t die and instead ascended to heaven on a chariot of fire.  And he 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 decided to do something sensible – he took a nap.  Then an angel of the Lord awakened Elijah from his nap and encouraged 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.  Then 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 – but he also probably thought he wasn’t making a difference, and his work had been in vain.

God had told Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11-13a, “‘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.  When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.”

The Lord then revealed to Elijah that he wasn’t 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’re 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 – he wants everyone to accept him as their Savior and Lord.  1 Timothy 2:1-4 says, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who 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, you mustn’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

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

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

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