Food for Thought|
by David Churchill
Have you caught
any lobsters lately in conversation or Bible class?
For Maine fishermen, lobsters are the most
valuable items harvested from the sea. According to a program I watched
on the National Geographic Channel, lobster fishing provides over a billion
dollars annually to Maine fisherman, shipbuilders, equipment and accessory
providers, restaurants, and other associated businesses.
The problem with fishing for lobsters is that
they are not a surface-dweller. They dont swim on top of the
water and they dont usually crawl up on the beaches. They live
on the ocean bottom, much deeper than people can casually swim. Trying
to catch them by hook and line takes too much time for the few that are
caught. And most of the fisherman simply dont have the experience
or resources to use fancy diving equipment for catching these prizes. So
how do they do it?
Lobster fishermen catch lobsters by trapping
them. They build sturdy solid traps big enough to hold grown lobsters,
but with holes to let the baby lobsters and other undesired sea creatures
escape. Then the fishermen lower the traps where lobsters are known
to live and tie on floating markers to identify where the traps lie below.
Once a day, the traps are hauled up, the contents sorted for what
to keep and what to return to the water, and the traps returned to the depths
for another days catch. One person with a small boat and several
traps can catch over 100 to 200 usable lobsters each day.
people seeking the spiritual truths of Gods Word, Christians are a
lot like these Maine fishermen seeking the oceans lobsters. We
sustain our spiritual livelihood by searching for items of value. Harvesting
these valuables requires planning, preparation, and persistent effort on
our part. And we must somehow habitually think deeper than the shallow
thinking of the world around us.
How can we think so deeply that we successfully
lay our mental lobster traps to catch these spiritual truths?
First, we must build those traps -- sturdy
and strong, yet with selective criteria so we catch whats important.
Paul writes in Philippians chapter four that by prayer and supplication,
with thanksgiving, we are to make our requests known to God. He then
continues by saying,
whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are
just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things
are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy
meditate on these things. The things which you learned and
received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be
Second, we must lengthen our thinking lines
long enough to reach where our traps will catch the most good. In
2 Peter 1:5-11, Peter writes, But
also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith
virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control
perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness,
and to brotherly kindness love.
He then goes on to explain why this is important, For if these things are yours and
abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of
our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is
shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed
from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even
more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these
things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you
abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Third, we must lay these catching traps where
they will benefit us. Be
diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly
dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings,
for they will increase to more ungodliness.
(2 Timothy 2:13-14) Therefore,
whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is
the Law and the Prophets. Enter by the narrow gate; for wide
is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are
many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult
is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware
of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they
are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.
Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from
thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good
fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good
fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you
will know them. (Matt.
Fourth, we must regularly check our mental
lobster traps. Paul encourages Timothy, But you must continue in the things which you have
learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and
that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able
to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and
is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction
in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped
for every good work. (2
Tim. 3:14-17) The Hebrew writer words this thought a little differently,
us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking
the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but
exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)