“Set It Free!” (Luke 6:12)

My father was passionate about fishing. Growing up in Hawaii, there were numerous opportunities. Whether it was deep water trolling, casting from the ocean shore, or wading into a shallow river, he was equally adept within each setting, always managing to catch a fish when those around him went home empty-handed. He would have been delighted if I shared his interest but it never captured me. 

“Dad!” I would protest. “It’s so boring!”

My dad would dismissively shake his head and admonished me, “You are not working so you don’t appreciate this time of rest.”

Since I was only seven years old, I would have to take his word for his prediction for my life. Yet, I could never imagine myself embracing his hobby. I did, however, want to make my father proud of me. He spent a great deal of time teaching me to tie a hook and attach a floater. He meticulously described how to find the right location and setting to catch a variety of different fish. I intently listened and tried to emulate my father as he deftly cast into the exact spot he was seeking but all of this never resonated in my soul. However, I didn’t want to disappoint him. One day, I had an opportunity.

We were fishing off an ocean pier when I felt a tug on my line. I excitedly motioned to my father, “Dad! I got a big one! Look!” My fishing pole bent downward, furiously bobbing as I attempted to reel in my haul. My efforts were rewarded after a few seconds as a large dark mass began to emerge from the murky depths. Finally! It was my chance to prove I was a worthy son! 

Frantically reeling in the line, not wishing to lose this opportunity for redemption, the great Leviathan emerged, a mass of seaweed, coral, and a plastic bag. Laughing uproariously, my father shouted, “You caught Oahu! Set it free!”

Years later, I realize how limited my understanding of fishing was. It was never about catching fish or hooking an island, it was about spending time with my father. It was my father’s way of expressing his love and devotion to me and I squandered the opportunities to learn from him. Instead of asking him to fish with me and sitting next to him with a fishing pole, I focused on my selfish needs even after I moved out and entered the workforce. 

In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.

Luke 6:12 (ESV)

Jesus Christ understood the need to spend quality time with God, His Heavenly Father. In spite of His very busy ministry and the numerous distractions of the world, His priorities were properly aligned and He would always seek to spend time alone in communion with His Father. Jesus’ entire life was devoted to learning from Him and delighting in His presence. 

I am working now and I still don’t like fishing. But my father was prophetically correct, I didn’t appreciate the time of rest we spent together. I do wish I could have one more day of fishing with my father…just to hear him laugh and instruct me once again. 

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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