This post comes weighted with a significant amount of trepidation. First, in our two years together, posts that focus on how faith touches current affairs tend to draw the most interest. This one will not directly do that. Second, readers who love action-filled and fast-paced stories, or those who have no interest in fly fishing, might not get grabbed right away by our central story. But I encourage you hang in there, because our topic has tremendous relevance to our walk with Jesus.
The pic above comes from the movie A River Runs Through It, taken from the book by Norman Maclean, recounting the mostly true lives of a Presbyterian pastor in Missoula MT in the early 1900s and his two sons. Notice the beautiful writing in these excerpts from the first few pages, but more so, notice how Pastor Maclean weaves his faith into all he does, including fly fishing.
"In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing. We lived at the junction of great trout rivers in western Montana, and our father was a Presbyterian minister and fly fisherman...in a typical week Paul and I probably received as many hours of instruction in fly fishing as we did in all other spiritual matters...so my brother and I learned to cast Presbyterian-style, on a metronome..."
Fly fishing may not float your float tube (sorry for the allusion, but I couldn't avoid using it), but what does? What makes your face explode in a smile when you think of it? What activity will cause you to gladly drag out of bed at 4 AM?
Please be personal here, we're all different in what motivates us and brings us joy, so let's look inward. Now, how does your faith influence it? Maclean's dad learned that secret--he not only saw fishing as a spiritual activity, but he crafted how he did it to match his faith. That's biblical, "...everything that does not come from faith is sin" (Romans 14:23). Maclean fished as he thought a Presbyterian should. He intentionally examined his actions, including his passions, to ensure they were consistent with his faith.
Why does this principle carry so much weight? Too many of us live as practicing atheists, with God little involved in our decision making. Why? Either we're biblically ignorant of how extensive God's desires are for us, or we don't care. Otherwise, why do so many of us followers behave in so many ways that don't express genuine faith? Several months ago Sheila and I met Sean, who freely expressed his trust in God, Jesus' importance in his life, how much he loved his local church, and then casually mentioned how he and his fiancée had been living together for five years. Folks, that's quite a disconnect.
God deserves better. We deserve better.
Kick Starting the Application
Think for a moment of the major interests in your life. Recreation. Family. Job. House. You name it. Next, have you intentionally run that through the grid of God and his word? If you have, how deep was the contemplation? If not, why not? When you have done it, what spiritual result did it bring to you? What one significant step can you take this week to increase your intentional connection of God with your interests?