Pastor Jim Jackson
Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church
Tried my hand at saltwater fishing from a pier the other day. Never did this before. I was fishing around, trying to learn a new skill and put some food on the table.
I prepared my rig with heavy sinkers, sharpe hooks, twelve pound line, and bought some dead shrimp. Took along some ice and cleaning tools just in case some luck came my way.
Wasn’t long before another fisherman took his place beside me. He had one of those pull-along carts for carrying all his equipment. No homemade job, a real go-getter with wide tires. With only one long and limber rod, I thought— little chance.
Yet he caught one keepable red fish after another. My confidence grew to the point that I was already inhaling the pleasant aroma of fish frying at my home later. It gave me incentive and hope for a good day.
He was deadlining live shrimp along the grass. Me?
I was fishing dead shrimp on two rods in the deep water, surely I would come up with something. But it didn’t happen, so I pulled out my lunch and watched my companion who was a nice fella, willing to share his secrets. Nonetheless, he soon announced: “I’ve caught my limit, five fish under fourteen inches long.”
So he caught his limit and soon I reached my limit.
Time to go home and announce my defeat. Salmon patties, fresh from the can.
Yet it wasn’t all lost, I made a new friend, picked up some good pointers, and learned the difference between catching your limit and reaching your limit.
It’s important to know when you’ve reached your limit.
Those early disciples had failed catching their limit and soon reached their limit, accepting defeat. They headed for shore when they were approached my Jesus, carpenter by trade, not a fisherman. But you know the rest of the story. Obeying his suggestion, they cast on the other side of the boat and caught so much they nearly ripped their nets. Could it be that I should have fished on the other side of the pier? Try something different, and do it with a prayer to the one who fed five thousand with only five small fishes. No salmon patties that night.